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ring technologies, this will also lay the foundation for sustainable growth in the industry and provide the agricultural sector with the means to respond to ever-changing market conditions. The private sector may also be involved in AKST development through involvement in joint ventures with research institutions to make AKST available as a public good to smaller farms. Changes in price-formation policies will occur mainly as a result of shifts in the demand curve and as a consequence product prices will be affected differently. What factors will cause this shift?

  • Demographic—growth in population normally brings equal growth in demand for all types of goods. However, concomitant changes in the age structure may affect the demand and consequently the price for certain goods. For instance, an increase in the percentage of children in CWANA countries population may cause a higher demand for milk.
  • Economic—changes in per capita income levels may affect the degree of demand for most goods. Increase in income will change the food patterns, with expensive meat and sea products dominating. The demand for less tasty foods containing starch will decline as incomes increase. If the income level falls, less expensive necessity foods, such as bakery products, will prevail.
  • Socio- and psychological—these factors have recently emerged because of growing concerns about human health. Thus recently there was a decline in the demand for beef, especially in western Europe, resulting from fears that mad cow disease could cause mortal disorder in the human brain. Avian flu caused a drastic decline in the demand for poultry. But the demand for olive oil grew in view of the belief that it reduces the risk of cardiovascular diseases as compared with adipose or other vegetable oils.

While the above factors will directly influence the demand for final agricultural products they also indirectly influence the derived demand for AKST. Demand- or market-oriented production will focus more on the adoption of AKST.

Price disparities have been most visible at the producer level, where prices for agricultural products increased much less than prices for means of production. Calculations indicate that the rise in price for means of agricultural production is 40% faster than for agricultural products. Purchasing prices set by monopolistic processing industries are below world market prices, and farmers have no option but to accept them.

Notwithstanding government support to producers in the form of subsidies, most means of production such as agricultural machinery, fertilizers, pesticides, and veterinary services are inaccessible for producers. Also, food-pricing policies, based on an extensive system of food subsidies, have a negative effect on macroeconomic variables such as the rate of inflation, the balance of payments and the exchange rate. Moreover, the subsidy system has destabilized industrial output and investment. Restricting the benefits of subsidies only to those most deserving would lower the inflation rate, reduce the volume of imported food (thus the government deficit), and increase industrial output and investment. Subsidies to producers will come through public


services such as research and extension and may be a more effective way to diffuse and adopt AKST.

To overcome the negative consequences of the transition to free market conditions it is necessary to take several measures to improve agricultural policy:

  • Prices and agricultural trade should be liberalized. Unless prices for agricultural products are harmonized with world market levels and payments are made directly to producers, we cannot expect significant growth in the agricultural sector, and productivity will remain low.
  • The primary task is to improve price-formation policies through increased competition at the level of farms. Antimonopoly legislation should be developed. Creation of a more competitive environment in the sphere of purchases will increase farm income and encourage farmers to improve productivity, marketing and trade, and quality of agricultural processing.
  • It is necessary to abolish the system where production requirements are based on government order and production scheduling is done by the state. For products
    that in government’s opinion represent national interests, a price policy should be introduced that would stimulate their voluntary production based on profitability.
  • Public purchases should be based on market prices. Productivity could be improved using a contract-based system. In future, the state and farmers will buy and sell futures contracts in response to changes in market conditions and generate income before harvest.
  • it is necessary to undertake thoroughgoing reforms in agricultural and trade policies. Trade barriers should be removed and a system of customs duties established. Export and import licensing should be abolished; private companies should be allowed and encouraged to take part in international trade on condition that only the above-mentioned customs duties are collected from them.

4.1.3 Research policy for NRM
One of the most challenging issues is the emerging expansion and diversification of the research portfolio. In addition to conventional topics, AKST is called upon to cover a variety of new research and innovation domains.

Pasture management. Agricultural land for the whole CWANA region is mainly devoted to permanent pasture and rangeland. The proportion of rangeland to total land is 83 percent, the lowest proportion being in Southwest Asia (55%), the highest in the Arabian Peninsula (98%). In many CWANA countries, rangeland carrying capacity is decreasing because of overgrazing.

Research and technical options for improved rangeland management are available, e.g., practicing rotational grazing, corralling to rehabilitate degraded spots, seeding and planting possibly supported by fertilization and water harvesting, practicing agroforestry, maintaining livestock biodiversity and reducing the number of artificial water points. However, these practices have often been developed in completely different ecosocial regions, and adaptation of these technologies in other countries is important. Further research in the area of rangeland will contribute to solving environmental