Does the WTO Agreement on Agriculture Endanger Food Security in Sub-Saharan Africa?
The paper examines the state of food security in Sub-Saharan Africa (SSA), based on an analysis of a selection of indicators of food security and nutritional wellbeing during the period 1990-2002 within the context of the WTO Agreement on Agriculture. It argues that it may be advisable for those SSA countries with both static and dynamic comparative advantage in agriculture to pursue policies towards ‘food self-sufficiency’ as a means to attaining food security, considering their large rural farming population, at least until such time that international trade in agriculture is fully integrated into the WTO disciplines. This is particularly relevant in view of the fact that high agricultural protectionism in the north currently distorts price signals and thus the opportunity costs of allocating factors of production in these economies. The SSA countries that lack comparative advantage in agriculture may want to aim for a ‘food self-reliance’ strategy to attain food security.