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You searched for: Content Type Working Paper Remove constraint Content Type: Working Paper Publishing Institution Global Development and Environment Institute at Tufts University Remove constraint Publishing Institution: Global Development and Environment Institute at Tufts University Topic Agriculture Remove constraint Topic: Agriculture
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  • Author: Timothy A. Wise
  • Publication Date: 05-2012
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Global Development and Environment Institute at Tufts University
  • Abstract: More than 40% of U.S. corn is now consumed in the production of ethanol. With the United States by far the world's largest producer and exporter of corn, this represents an estimated 15% of global corn production. A recent survey by the National Academy of Sciences estimated that globally biofuels expansion accounted for 20 - 40% of the price increases seen in 2007 - 8, when prices of many food crops doubled. This had a dramatic impact on poor consumers and on net - food - importing developing countries. Expanding U.S. production and consumption of corn - based ethanol, which has been encouraged by a range of U.S. government subsidies and incentives, is considered one of the most important biofuel programs in putting upward pressure on food prices. Mexico now imports about one - third of its corn from the United States. Using conservative estimates from a study on U.S. ethanol expansion and corn prices, we estimate the direct impacts of U.S. ethanol expansion on Mexican corn import costs. We find that from 2006 - 2011, U.S. ethanol expansion cost Mexico about $1.5 billion due to ethanol - related corn price increases. Other methodologies suggest the costs could be more than twice as high, surpassing $3 billion over the period.
  • Topic: Security, Agriculture, Development, International Cooperation, International Trade and Finance, Food
  • Political Geography: United States, Latin America, Mexico
  • Author: Timothy A. Wise, Sarah E. Trist
  • Publication Date: 08-2010
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Global Development and Environment Institute at Tufts University
  • Abstract: The U.S. Departments of Justice and Agriculture have focused attention recently on rising levels of corporate concentration in agricultural markets and the challenges that may pose to U.S. anti-trust enforcement and agricultural policies. Both agencies have raised particular concerns about dominant firms' exercise of buyer power over farmers, especially in livestock markets controlled by a shrinking number of large multinational meat packers. U.S. hog markets have undergone rapid concentration in the last 25 years, with the top four packers now controlling two-thirds of the market and Smithfield Foods, the industry leader, commanding 31 percent.
  • Topic: Agriculture, Markets
  • Political Geography: United States
  • Author: Maria del Carmen Vera-Diaz, Robert K. Kaufmann, Daniel C. Nepstad
  • Publication Date: 05-2009
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Global Development and Environment Institute at Tufts University
  • Abstract: For decades, the development of transportation infrastructure in the Brazilian Amazon has been the government's main social and economic development policy in the region. Reductions in transportation costs have not only opened the agricultural frontier to cattle ranching and logging but have also caused more than two-thirds of Amazonian deforestation. Currently, soybean cultivation is a new economic force demanding improvements to roads in the region. Profitable soybean crops have spread over the Mato Grosso's cerrados and now head toward the core of the Amazon rain forest. One of the main constraints for soy expansion into the Amazon has been the poor condition of roads. In this study, we analyze the effect Amazon transportation infrastructure programs have on soybean expansion by lowering transport costs. The analysis is based on spatial estimates of transportation costs for the soybean sector, first using current road networks and then projecting changes based on the paving of the Cuiabá-Santarém road. Our results indicate that paving the Cuiabá-Santarém road would reduce transportation costs by an average of $10 per ton for farmers located in the northern part of Mato Grosso, by allowing producers to reroute soybean shipments to the Santarém port. Paving the road also would expand the area where growing soybeans is economically feasible by about 70 percent, from 120,000 to 205,000 km2 . Most of this new area would be located in the state of Pará and is covered largely by forests. A Cost-Benefit analysis of the road project indicates that the investments in infrastructure would generate more than $180 million for soybean farmers over a period of twenty years. These benefits, however, ignore the project's environmental impacts. If the destruction of ecological services and products provided by the existing forests is accounted for, then the Cuiabá-Santarém investment would generate a net loss of between $762 million and $1.9 billion. This result shows the importance of including the value of the natural capital in feasibility studies of infrastructure projects to reflect their real benefits to society as a whole.
  • Topic: Agriculture, Development, Economics, Environment, Infrastructure
  • Political Geography: Brazil, Latin America, Amazon Basin
  • Author: Timothy A. Wise
  • Publication Date: 12-2009
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Global Development and Environment Institute at Tufts University
  • Abstract: With the opening of the Mexican economy under the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA), Mexican agriculture came under new competitive pressures from U.S. exports. It was widely recognized at the beginning of NAFTA that Mexico had geographically-based comparative advantages in supplying off-season fruits and vegetables to a hungry U.S. market. NAFTA's liberalization of agricultural trade produced the expected results, with more staple crops and meats flowing south and more seasonal fruits and vegetables flowing north. In agriculture, tariffs and quotas have now mostly been eliminated. Not so agricultural subsidies, which were left largely undisciplined by NAFTA. High U.S. farm subsidies for exported crops, which compete with Mexican products, have prompted charges that the level playing field NAFTA was supposed to create is in fact tilted heavily in favor of the United States.
  • Topic: Agriculture, International Trade and Finance, Treaties and Agreements
  • Political Geography: United States, North America
  • Author: Elanor Starmer, Timothy A. Wise
  • Publication Date: 12-2007
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Global Development and Environment Institute at Tufts University
  • Abstract: U.S. farm policy reforms in 1996 produced significant overproduction of supported crops, with prices falling to levels that were often below average farm production costs. Among the beneficiaries of the policy shift were the largest corporate purchasers of supported crops, as they saw a steady supply of low-priced inputs. Industrial livestock firms were among the most significant buyers of U.S. corn and soybeans, the main components of livestock feed. Filling an important gap in the literature, this paper estimates the savings to industrial hog operations between 1997 and 2005 from feed components priced at levels below their production costs. The savings are found to be significant. We also find that industrial hog companies benefited from weak federal regulation of environmental pollution from livestock operations. We estimate the costs to industrial hog firms of compliance with new environmental regulations regarding mitigation of surface-water contamination from excess manure concentrations. This cost is also found to be significant. We assess the implications of these findings for the continued consolidation and industrialization of the industry. We find that mid-sized diversified farms that grow their own feed may well be able to compete on cost with large-scale industrial operations if the latter pay full cost for their feed and have to pay for just one part of their externalized pollution costs.
  • Topic: Agriculture, Environment, Industrial Policy
  • Political Geography: United States
  • Author: Timothy A. Wise
  • Publication Date: 03-2007
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Global Development and Environment Institute at Tufts University
  • Abstract: Since the introduction of the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) in 1994, traditional maize farmers in Mexico have faced difficult economic conditions. In barely more than a decade, as many as one million farmers may have abandoned their land under economic pressure from rising imports, low prices for maize and other traditional crops, weak local and regional demand, and large reductions in public sector support for agriculture. The losses are environmental as well as economic. With the loss of traditional maize, there has been a documented loss of the agricultural biodiversity of which these farmers and their ancestors have been stewards for centuries. With maize trade scheduled to be fully liberalized under NAFTA in 2008, many farm groups are calling for a renegotiation of the treaty's agricultural provisions to prevent further damage. This policy analysis examines the room for alternative policies in Mexico under existing economic and environmental agreements, including NAFTA. It concludes that the Mexican government retains access to many useful policy instruments that could promote rural livelihoods while arresting the losses of important maize diversity. What is lacking is the political will to make use of them.
  • Topic: Agriculture, Development, Economics, Treaties and Agreements
  • Political Geography: North America, Mexico
  • Author: Elanor Starmer, Timothy A. Wise, Aimee Witteman
  • Publication Date: 06-2006
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Global Development and Environment Institute at Tufts University
  • Abstract: Since the passage of the 1996 Farm Bill, the U.S. market prices of soybeans and corn have dropped 21% and 32%, respectively. These commodities are sold on the market at a price below what they cost to produce. If U.S. agricultural policies contribute to this trend, then they do so to the benefit of commodity purchasers, particularly the industrial operations that use the commodities as raw material inputs. Corporate-owned livestock operations are a case in point. This paper focuses on the broiler chicken industry, which, in the United States, is fully industrialized and vertically integrated. We compare the average costs of production for broiler feed components—corn and soybean meal—with market prices, and then use these cost-price margins to estimate the amount broiler companies save by being able to purchase feed at a price below production costs. We find that the broiler industry gained monetary benefits averaging $1.25 billion per year between 1997 and 2005 when, following the passage of the 1996 Farm Bill, market prices dropped far below production costs. In contrast, broiler industry gains from low market prices averaged a much smaller $377 million per year between 1986 and 1996. We conclude that the corporate broiler industry is a major winner from changes to U.S. agriculture policy that have allowed feed prices to fall. This finding is not significantly altered when we adjust our calculations to account for the overvaluation of agricultural land, nor does it appear to reverse under future cost/price scenarios. As policymakers turn their attention to the 2007 Farm Bill, they would do well to examine the ways in which agribusiness firms in general, and industrial livestock operations in particular, benefit from policies ostensibly designed to support family farmers. Current U.S. farm policies may be driving industrialization in the livestock production system if they give factory operations the appearance of being more cost efficient than diversified, independent operations that grow their own feed.
  • Topic: Agriculture, Government, Industrial Policy
  • Political Geography: United States
  • Author: David Dapice
  • Publication Date: 05-2003
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Global Development and Environment Institute at Tufts University
  • Abstract: In this paper, an extensive report on the economy of Myanmar prepared in 1998 is supplemented by more recent reports as of fall 2002 (included as appendices).
  • Topic: Agriculture, Economics, International Trade and Finance
  • Political Geography: Asia
  • Author: Neva Goodwin, Jonathan Harris
  • Publication Date: 03-2003
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Global Development and Environment Institute at Tufts University
  • Abstract: Macroeconomic theory and policy are strongly based on the assumption that economic growth is a fundamental goal. The environmental realities of the twenty- first century compel a reassessment of macro theory in terms of the impact of current growth patterns on planetary ecosystems.
  • Topic: Agriculture, Development, Economics, International Trade and Finance
  • Author: Jonathan Harris
  • Publication Date: 02-2001
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Global Development and Environment Institute at Tufts University
  • Abstract: In the twenty-first century, it is evident that world agricultural systems will have to supply sufficient food for a population somewhere between 7.5 and 12 billion. Projections for world agriculture in the first half of the twenty-first century very widely, largely depending on assumptions about yield growth. An investigation of the patterns of yield growth for major cereal crops offers evidence that the pattern is logistic, implying that an upper limit to yields is being approached. This pattern is consistent with ecological limits on soil fertility, water availability, and nutrient uptake. It is also evident that current agricultural production is imposing serious strains on ecosystems, with widespread soil degradation, water overdraft and pollution, and ecological impacts such as loss of biodiversity and the proliferation of resistant pest species.
  • Topic: Agriculture, Development, Economics, Environment
  • Author: Eliza Waters, Tim Wise
  • Publication Date: 02-2001
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Global Development and Environment Institute at Tufts University
  • Abstract: The North American Free Trade Agreement appeared to promise economic growth for Mexico and improved living conditions for its people. While the Mexican economy has recovered significantly from its post-NAFTA collapse, there is mounting evidence that many of the pre-NAFTA warnings of worsening poverty and deteriorating environmental conditions were true, if exaggerated. However one interprets the statistics, there is little doubt that the economic integration process, which began a full decade before NAFTA took effect, has created a significant restructuring of the Mexican economy, with some of the country's most vulnerable residents facing the harshest conditions.
  • Topic: Agriculture, Economics, Globalization, International Trade and Finance, Political Economy
  • Political Geography: North America