Looking Forward: Policies, Institutional and Organizational Arrangements for AKST Development and Application | 101

transferview to reducing food-borne morbidity and mortality and improving nutritional and hygienic quality. Food-borne diseases such as Salmonella and Escherichia coli infectionsremain responsible for high levels of morbidity and mortality in the general populations of CWANA, but particularly for at-risk groups, such as infants and the immunocompromised. Many zoonoses such as brucellosis and tuberculosis that are associated with handling diseased domestic and wild animals are also prevalent in CWANA countries. Because of intensive use of chemicals, transformation of traditional systems, large scale production structures and trade, the cost of maintaining quality in foods will increase. Organic agriculture is an alternative to traditional farming systems and greatly appreciated by consumers, mainly in industrial countries (import markets). In many countries, including CWANA, products are registered with country of origin designated to assure consumers of the assumed high quality. Compliance with food safety and quality assurance in CWANA has been driven by government laws to secure traditional export markets. In recent years, several CWANA countries such as Bahrain, Morocco and Pakistan have planned and implemented extensive reviews of their food safety systems, updating their legislation and generally improving their systems as a whole (WHO, 2001). In local markets as well it is important to safeguard the right of food safety to all consumers, protecting their health from unsafe or potentially unsafe food by preventing health hazards associated with microbiological and chemical contamination and additives. Good agricultural practices at the farm level with stringent veterinary controls along the supply chain are required to ensure the safety of fresh and processed foods. Highly useful preventive and cost-effective approaches to food safety (such as the Hazard Analysis Critical Control Point System or HACCP) exist and CWANA countries should adapt and adopt them. Institutions in charge of promoting the adoption and implementation of standards have to be strengthened, and strategic partnerships between the multiple concerned disciplines (such as health, agriculture, and food industry and trade) encouraged. Consumer education is key to preventing food-borne diseases. Donor support for building capacity in the area of food safety is to be called upon, and legislation needs to be enacted and strictly enforced.

4.1.2 Pricing policies
Pricing policies for agricultural products ought to follow the rules of a free market. Further, strategic planning is needed to shift toward market oriented agriculture policy closely integrated with national development objectives, without compromising food security or food sovereignty. This however depends on the prevailing local market structure and the engagement in multilateral and regional economic cooperation and negotiation toward establishing free markets. If the conditions of a free competitive market are prevailing, this will lead to efficient price formation, which in turn influences positively the development and adoption of AKST. In most CWANA countries, however, agricultural markets are not competitive. Small-scale farmers in particular are facing problems of scale, with market power in favor of the middleman. Marketing conditions and marketing margins are changing as a result of evolving supermarket requirements, mostly affecting small farmers. Under these


conditions pricing policies will be developed in parallel with the development of coordination strategies. Vertical coordination will guarantee stable prices and markets. Farmers’ associations are also an effective way to create market power for small- and medium-scale farmers. Vertical coordination and farmers’ associations are more likely to favor the adoption of AKST in response to new requirements of the supermarket phenomenon that characterizes the new marketing scene. For instance, supermarkets are adopting private quality schemes. Farm enterprises need to adopt these private standards if they want to stay in business.

The pricing policy, when coordinated by bureaucratic mechanisms through administered prices, does not reflect marginal production costs. Under this scenario, for administrative convenience, monopolies are created that lead to prices that are distorted when compared with product quality. It should be noted that in this scenario there is no market-based price formation and no possibility to compensate for seasonal deficiencies and overstocks. Prices set by the government are rarely revised and do not reflect the opportunity cost on the international market, which brings negative added value for some producers if evaluated on the basis of international market prices. Because of government intervention, entrepreneurs will find it more profitable to trade on the basis of barter or mutual agreements, as the transaction costs will be too high. In this case, producers see no necessity to seek alternative resources or adopt newer techniques, because they have no incentive to improve their work processes.

Most CWANA countries have made significant progress toward establishing free market conditions. Negotiations are under way with major trading partners to enter into trade relations based on WTO rules. At the national level, agricultural production is no longer centrally planned and is now in the hands of private sector farmers who are free to choose what crops to grow. Agricultural incomes have risen significantly as a result. Government policy toward trading inputs and outputs, including processed goods, is steered toward creating a liberal market, although some interventions that cause distortions and inefficiencies remain in some countries. In these countries, governments are undergoing reform programs to completely liberalize the sector and redefine the relationship between government agencies and the private sector. This will create a more favorable environment with freer markets and prices. Liberalization will likely be accompanied by better access to AKST, first to meet international markets’ requirement, second to be competitive in the marketplace; third, international markets will have access to AKST.

The private sector must be prepared to assume the role of market regulation and to serve as an engine of growth for the whole agricultural sector. Working directly with farm associations, private enterprise will improve marketing conditions by changing traditional concepts of how to market and by creating useful information systems and fostering business links. Useful information will be needed about prices, but also about quantities and the quality of products as required by the supply chain actors. This will improve price formation mechanisms. While helping the industry to process high-quality products efficiently and create better conditions to foster processing capacities through transferview