By: Ahmed Alhaj (Site Admin)
It is needless to emphasize the importance of the agricultural sector in Sudan. Through the last six decades no serious attempts was made to structure or restructure the sector according to a well designed agricultural policy. Recently we contributed in developing the agricultural renaissance followed by the agricultural revival and the establishment of the agricultural policy institute at the ministry of sciences and technology. The experiences gained and lessons learned from these activities revealed a fatal misconception of what agricultural policy means and how mechanisms can be developed and put in place for the implementation of this policy. Policies, agricultural or non agricultural were characterized by wishful hopes and unrealistic ambitions that crash at the very moment it is tried among farmers or in the field.
2 What Went Wrong?
The policy of any sector is built on specific inputs and requirements that include, among others, the following:
· A well designed data collected and designed purposely for policy department
· Socioeconomic surveys focusing on farmers, livestock, owners. Fishermen and other relevant partners to build consensus between all stakeholders.
· Production, consumption and surplus indicators.
· Realistic input/ output forecast to make sure that financial and technical resources are guaranteed.
· Full time specialists from different disciplines and sectors.
The above specific inputs and requirements were absent in the past and at the present.
Policy should be supportive in nature to all the possible incentives, subsidies and safeguard measures. Overtaxing or sometimes double taxing the sector will never put agriculture at the front.
Is it possible to revise the status and the calculation of impact?
3 Why do we need a new agricultural policy?
A policy can be defined as mental and academic product that responds to the demands of the powerful majority of the population. In a time of food crisis (uncertainty in quantity, price, efficiency ..etc ) financial focus is attracted to high potential areas (more production or less cost or both). The crisis exposes consumers and producers to rapid fluctuation in all aspects of production and consumption, restricts access to productive resources, and support corporate profit rather than the right to adequate food.
There is a choice to be made in food policy it is industrial – scientific and economic and food production as a process of social and ecological reproduction. The choice will not be against one policy in support of the second, it is rather striking a clever balance between the two.
Such a balance would recognize the mullitfunctionality of agriculture, accounting for complexity of agricultural systems within diverse social and ecological (environmental) contexts. In terms of development and sustainability goals, this policy and institutional change should be directed primarily at those who have been served least by previous policy approaches.
Business as usual is not a policy option: hunger and poverty, rural livelihoods and equitable, environmentally society and economically sustainable development demands a shift in food policy design and implementation.
4 Where can we find an agricultural policy?
Thinking and making an agricultural policy is not impossible provided that the think tank is activated and the requirements are fulfilled. In the past policy planners were thinking about food sufficiency, some countries successed while others failed. That was followed by a term invented by the world organizations under the name of food security which achieved great successes in most of the countries who had responsible governments and governance .
At present food security is becoming out of date and is replaced by food sovereignty. This fresh from the forest term means precisely that food is and will be the new power for nations and the new deadly weapon which is undefeatable. Some countries –with their natural resources and biodiversity will be on the shelf of poverty, needs and want and other countries will be found everywhere in the supermarket of food and non food products. That is the place and function of agricultural policy
Agricultural policy in the 21st century id market access.
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