LAC Occasional Paper Series

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The LCSSD Occasional Paper Series is a publication of the Sustainable Development Department (LCSSD) in the World Bank’s Latin America and the Caribbean Region. The papers in this series are the result of economic and technical research conducted by members of the LCSSD community. The series addresses issues that are relevant to the region’s environmental and social sustainability; water, urban, energy and transport sector development; agriculture, forestry and rural development; as well as cross-cutting topics related to sustainable development such as climate change; logistics; crime and violence; and spatial economics. While all papers in this series are peer reviewed and cleared by the LCSSD Economics Unit on behalf of the Director of LCSSD, the findings, interpretations, and conclusions expressed in this paper, as in all publications of the LCSSD Occasional Paper Series, are entirely those of the authors and should not be attributed in any manner to the World Bank, to its affiliated organizations or to members of its Board of Executive Directors or the countries they represent. The World Bank does not garantee the accuracy of the data included in this paper and accepts no responsibility for any consequences of their use.

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  • Publication
    Framework for Conducting Benefit-Cost Analyses of Investments in Hydro-Meteorological Systems
    (World Bank, Washington, DC, 2014-06) Malik, Arun S.; Amacher, Gregory S.; Russ, Jason; Esikuri, Enos E.; Ashida Tao, Keiko
    The whitepaper is organized as follows: section two provides an overview of the types of benefits associated with hydromet investments, the process by which the benefits are generated, and their expected development impacts; section three explains the rationale for public sector investment in hydromet systems and involvement by the World Bank; section four discusses the wide range of factors that influence the magnitude of benefits generated by hydromet systems, in particular the value of weather and climate forecasts. The discussion is supplemented by a stylized example presented in annex one; section five provides an overview of approaches that have been used to estimate the value of improved forecasts of routine climate to specific user groups or sectors of an economy; section six then turns to an overview of approaches that have been used to estimate the net benefits of hydromet investments at the country level. The primary benefits estimated by these approaches are those associated with improved forecasts of extreme meteorological events; section seven contains a discussion of the costs of hydromet investments, with particular attention given to the challenges faced in estimating these costs in developing countries; section eight lays out a framework for estimating the expected net benefits of hydromet investments at a country level. The framework builds on existing approaches and is designed to be used with data available from secondary sources. This section will be of central interest to those tasked with conducting economic evaluations of hydromet investments; section nine describes data that can be collected to conduct interim and ex-post evaluations of hydromet investments that supplement and refine ex-ante evaluations of these investments; and section ten offers conclusions and recommendations.
  • Publication
    Agricultural Support Policies and Programs in Jamaica 2006-2011
    (World Bank, Washington, DC, 2013-11) Arias, Diego; Gurria, Martin; Pena, Hector; Brown-Knowlton, Mildred; Boyce, Rachel; Smikle, Conrad
    An analysis of Jamaica's agriculture support policies and programs shows that Jamaican consumers are financing the bulk of supports to the agriculture sector. This report estimates the agriculture public support policies and programs of Jamaica between 2006 and 2011. This analysis of the agriculture programs and policies provides an understanding of the level and composition by type of support for different crops and livestock producers during 2010-2011. The estimate of total agriculture supports (measured as the total support estimate, TSE) in Jamaica in 2011 was approximately United States (U.S.) 675 million dollars (J$58.071 million), representing 4.7 percent of total gross domestic product (GDP) and 22.7 percent of agriculture GDP. Jamaica has been facing significant development challenges over the last three decades. It is in this context of fiscal restrictions and potential further economic and social stagnation, that the Government of Jamaica and the World Bank have been prompted to take action to better understand the degree and type of support Jamaican farmers are receiving. Once the level of support is understood within Jamaica's economic context, policy and program recommendations can be made to improve the effectiveness and efficiency of the support structure, addressing agriculture sector competitiveness issues and constraints. In this context, the report presents introduction; supports to agriculture; and summary and conclusions.
  • Publication
    Determinants of Agricultural Extension Services : The Case of Haiti
    (World Bank, Washington, DC, 2013-05-24) Arias, Diego; Leguía, Juan José; Sy, Abdoulaye
    The Haitian population is among the poorest in the world, with over 78 percent living on less than United States (U.S.) 2 dollar a day and over 50 percent living on less than U.S. 1 dollar a day. This paper extracts relevant lessons from historical data on factors influencing the receipt of extension services in Haiti, taking stock of the use of agricultural extension services prior to the 2010 earthquake. The goal is to influence future policies and development projects involving the provision of extension services as well as the type of extension services offered. This paper uses data from the 2010 agricultural census and examines the characteristics of farmers in Haiti receiving extension services by gender, education, agricultural training, farm size, and type of crop. Through in-depth study of each variable and a review of trends in the receipt of agricultural extension services, the study analyzes the equilibrium between the demand for and supply of extension services to particular farmer groups. The study draws the following nine key conclusions: (1) the proportion of households receiving agricultural extension services in Haiti is non-negligible; (2) location is an important determinant of the recipients of agricultural extension services; (3) there are no statistical differences between men and women in terms of receipt of extension services; however, the impact of agricultural training and farm size change when the head of household is a woman; (4) education level has a positive, yet small, effect on receiving extension services; (5) prior agricultural training is a major determinant of the recipients of extension services; (6) rehabilitation of the Ecoles Moyennes Agricoles (EMAs) for vocational and farmer field education on a nationwide scale will increase the demand for extension services, especially among small farmers; (7) farmers with larger farms receive more agricultural extension services; (8) coffee producers make more use of extension services than other farmers; and (9) promoting a hybrid system of extension may be more efficient than supporting only public or Non-governmental organizations (NGO) provided extension services.
  • Publication
    Improving Agricultural Productivity and Market Efficiency in Latin America and the Caribbean : How ICTs Can Make a Difference?
    (World Bank, Washington, DC, 2012-03) Goyal, Aparajita
    Agricultural growth rates in the Latin America and the Caribbean (LAC) region have been much slower than the rest of the developing world. In the regions of East Asia, South Asia and Middle East and North Africa, the annual growth of agricultural Gross Domestic Product (GDP) in 1980-2004 exceeded 3 percent, while growth in Sub- Saharan Africa averaged almost 3 percent. This paper attempts to present an overview of the agricultural sector in LAC, discuss its distinctive features, and the potential role of Information and Communication Technology's (ICTs) in improving agricultural productivity and market efficiency in this region. The discussion in this paper will refer to the evidence provided by studies that evaluate the impact of ICTs interventions. While the emphasis will be put on the studies that evaluate interventions in the LAC region, there will also be references to studies in other developing economies whenever these are pertinent to the LAC context. The commercialization of agricultural products has suffered important transformations in recent decades, posing big challenges for farmers in the LAC region. Finally, the adoption of agricultural technologies will also be constrained by insecure land rights. Investing in technologies with long-run returns will not be attractive if farmers are uncertain about their property rights in the future (Jack, 2011). This is certainly an issue in several countries in LAC, where land conflicts, expropriation and de facto ownership are common.
  • Publication
    Agricultural Commodity Exchanges in Latin America and the Caribbean
    (World Bank, Washington, DC, 2011-03-17) Arias, Diego; Ferreira Lamas, Alfredo; Kpaka, Musa
    A commodity exchange is a goods and financial market where different groups of participants trade commodities and commodity-linked contracts, with the underlying objective of transferring exposure to commodity price risks (UNCTAD). A commodity exchange that only trades goods is known as a physical or 'cash or forward' market, while the exchange that trades price derivatives is known as financial or 'futures and options' market (see Glossary for detailed definitions). Some agriculture commodity exchanges have both. Agricultural commodity exchanges date as far back as the early 18th century. Modern exchanges, notably the Chicago Board of Trade (CBOT) was created in 1848, recently merged with the Chicago Mercantile Exchange (CME), is one the oldest and most successful futures exchanges worldwide. Today several agricultural commodity exchanges exist throughout the Latin America and Caribbean (LAC) region. They facilitate trade and financial products in countries whose economies have a relatively large share of primary and secondary agricultural activities or either account for auctions on substantial food imports. This report looks at the current development of agricultural commodity exchanges in the LAC region and offers public policy recommendations that can foster the development of such exchange markets.
  • Publication
    Integrating Central American and International Food Markets : An Analysis of Food Price Transmission in Honduras and Nicaragua
    (World Bank, Washington, DC, 2011-03-17) Arias, Diego; De Franco, Mario A.
    In 2004 the Central American countries of Nicaragua, Honduras, Guatemala, El Salvador, Costa Rica, and the Dominican Republic signed the Dominican Republic-Central America Free Trade Agreement (DR-CAFTA) with the United States and are currently negotiating another agreement with the European Union and others. This study examines the dynamics among international and domestic food markets by assessing the transmission of international prices to domestic prices of key agriculture commodities in Honduras and Nicaragua. It analyzes to what degree, if at all, a change in the international price of a given food product influences the domestic price of that same good, at the level of the consumer and producer and in different regions in each country. This analysis provides important evidence of the price dynamics that guide public policy recommendations for a complementary agenda of agriculture trade liberaliza-tion in the region. There are two methods for analyzing the relationship between international and domestic prices. The first is to conduct a price wedge analysis-to evaluate the difference between international and domestic prices. The second method is to conduct a price transmission analysis by analyzing the variation in the percent growth of international versus domestic prices. Evidence from Nicaragua suggests that for most of the agriculture supply chains studied (except for beans) there is little competition in the country's domestic market structure. A few Nicaraguan companies own the majority share of the market, both to purchase and export agricultural products and to import and sell food domestically. Obtaining information about the structure of domestic agriculture and food markets could shed light on country-specific impediments from domestic market structure to increasing agriculture growth, reducing poverty, and improving rural competitiveness. Information on domestic market structure was difficult to obtain for this study, particularly for Honduras. But, even in a context where the domestic market structure concentrates purchasing and selling power in a few agribusiness companies, price transmission could be high.
  • Publication
    Unintended Consequences of Food Subsidies : The Case of the Haiti Rice Subsidy
    (World Bank, Washington, DC, 2011-03-17) Arias, Diego; Carneus, Maxime
    Haiti is an important rice consumer, and a big rice importer. Around 86 percent of the Haitian population consumes rice. The decision to implement an indirect subsidy was made based on the fact that import prices had in the past been transmitted fully and immediately to rice consumers. Thus, a subsidy to the price of rice at the level of the importers was expected to be passed on immediately into benefits (savings) to rice consumers. The Government also prohibited rice exports to the Dominican Republic in order to avoid re-export of subsidized rice. The subsidy scheme was implemented by forming a public-private sector Presidential Commission between the Central Bank of Haiti (BRH), the President's Office and rice importers. Although the rice price subsidy program did produce the intended savings to Haitian consumers during the 4-month period of the subsidy program (April-August 2008), this intervention caused medium term distortions in the domestic market of imported rice such that domestic prices of imported rice have risen beyond the price that consumers would have faced without a subsidy program. The actual prices consumers faced after the subsidy program was implemented were much more volatile than the estimated price without a subsidy program, pointing to also an increased consumer uncertainty about local market prices for rice. Using a targeted food voucher as a subsidy mechanism is not only more efficient, but can have higher impact on nutrition as it can be used for a wide variety.
  • Publication
    Implications of the Organization of the Commodity Production and Processing Industry : The Soybean Chain in Argentina
    (World Bank, Washington, DC, 2010-01) Regunaga, Marcelo
    The study includes four sections: i) brief production background; ii) description of the Argentine soybean value chain; iii) evolution of the main policies and institutional regimes in Argentina; iv) lessons learned related to the political economy and the industrial organization. The study describes the main policies implemented in Argentina during the last two decades which had impact on the structure of the soybean value chain and its performance. The dramatic changes registered in some of such policies, as well as in the international scenario, provide interesting background to better understand the evolution and performance of the Argentine industry in the global soybean value chain.
  • Publication
    Logistics, Transport and Food Prices in LAC : Policy Guidance for Improving Efficiency and Reducing Costs
    (World Bank, Washington, DC, 2009-08) Schwartz, Jordan; Guasch, Jose Luis; Wilmsmeier, Gordon; Stokenberga, Aiga
    This introductory section explains the rationale for the guidance note, reflecting on the relevance of food prices in Latin America and the Caribbean (LAC), their impact on the poor and the effect that logistics and transport costs have on those prices. Based upon that framework, the note provides an overview of the logistics and transport hurdles faced by importers and consumers in the region as food products move through the logistics chain. The final section of the report provides some policy guidance that could improve the efficiency of logistics systems in LAC and reduce the price of delivered foods.