Agricultural Trade Liberalization and Small-Holder Development: West African Rice Farmers in Perspective

Second Africa Rice Congress, March 2010

7 Pages Posted: 12 Feb 2012

See all articles by Chika Charles Aniekwe

Chika Charles Aniekwe

University of Antwerp; Osgoode Hall Law School

Date Written: March 26, 2010


The world’s agricultural system has become globalized, income distribution asymmetrical, and poorer and small-scale households in rural areas turned into net buyers of food, which has heightened the threat to food security and livelihoods, especially for the poorest people in developing countries. Yet, controversy still surrounds the extent to which agricultural market liberalization has impacted on small-holder farmers, especially in developing countries of the global South. The mainstream assumption is that liberalization has benefited small-scale farmers through cooperatives and farmers’ associations, better infrastructure, credit facilities and other capacity-building activities. Using a descriptive qualitative approach and focusing on the west African rice farmers, this paper argues that contrary to mainstream assumptions, agricultural trade liberalization has retrogressed small-holder rice farmers’ development in West Africa through biased policies such as domestic subsidies, dirty tarification,1 commodity standardization, bilateral trade agreements and other policies that favour rich and industrialized farmers in developed countries over poor agro-ecological small-holder farmers in developing countries, and also through the stripping of public support from the farmers

Keywords: Smallholder Farmers, Rice, West Africa, Trade liberalisation

Suggested Citation

Aniekwe, Chika Charles, Agricultural Trade Liberalization and Small-Holder Development: West African Rice Farmers in Perspective (March 26, 2010). Second Africa Rice Congress, March 2010, Available at SSRN:

Chika Charles Aniekwe (Contact Author)

University of Antwerp ( email )

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Osgoode Hall Law School ( email )

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