Fresh Look at Agricultural Input Regulations

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"The role of the state in agricultural development has shifted considerably in recent years. One of the areas where this reorientation is most noticeable is the organisation of input provision. Seeds, pesticides, and fertilisers are now more likely to be distributed by traders and merchants, rather than by the government input enterprises that dominated the scene until recently. Seed production and variety development are no longer the exclusive domain of the public sector. Government extension and farm credit programmes that were often sources of subsidised inputs have been severely curtailed. On the demand-side, farmers are more familiar with commercial seeds, fertilisers, and pesticides and are more likely to be the ones choosing inputs and deciding how much to use. Population pressure has led to the intensification of cropping patterns, generating further demand for purchased inputs. Crop diversification and technical change have also contributed to a wider demand for agricultural inputs. "In the midst of these changes in agricultural input supply and demand, the issue of input regulation has often been overlooked. Government involvement in the provision of inputs has been accompanied by a regulatory role that registers and controls the inputs that are available (whether imported or produced domestically) and monitors the quality of those products once they are on the market. There has been considerable concern over how effective or useful government regulatory performance has been in the past, and with a rapidly changing agricultural situation it is even more important that government s role in the regulation of inputs be reviewed. What are the priorities for regulation? When should a government regulatory agency have primary responsibility, and when is it more effective to rely on markets and consumers?"
agricultural development, regulation, fertilizer, pest control, seeds