An agricultural problem emerging in high-performing Asian economies
Policies tending to tax farmers in low-income countries and subsidize them in high-income countries have been identified as a major source of disequilibrium for world agriculture. Recently, on advancing from low-income to middle-income status thanks to successful industrialization, many high-performing economies in Asia have been confronted with the problem of a widening income gap between farm and non-farm workers, corresponding to rapid shifts in comparative advantage from agricul-ture to manufacturing. In order to prevent this disparity from culminating in serious social and political instability, policies have been reoriented towards supporting farmers’ incomes. At the same time, governments in middle-income countries must continue to secure low-cost food for the urban poor, who remain numerous. The need to achieve the two conflicting goals with the still weak fiscal capacity of governments tends to deprive agricultural policies of real efficacy in such economies. Greater re-search inputs in this area are called for in order to prevent the growth momentum of high-performing economies in Asia from being disrupted by political crises.
World Agriculture, Farm and Non-Farm Income Gap, Asian Economies
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