Effects of Agricultural Liberalization on Developing Countries’ Farmers

We would like to bring your attention to a paper by Third World Network, ‘Liberalization and Interactions with the Market: A Survey of Some Experiences of Rural Producers in Developing Countries’. It presents the results of a survey of some experiences of small rural producers in developing countries in their interaction with the market, in the context of increasing liberalization and globalization.

On one hand, many international agencies, policy makers and academics have been advocating a closer integration of rural producers and the agriculture sector of developing countries with the market, both local and global.

On the other hand, there are two increasing concerns. Firstly, barriers against market access remain strong, especially in the developed countries (which maintain massive domestic support in agriculture), and these limit the export opportunities for the developing countries’ agricultural products. Secondly, despite the continued protectionism in the rich countries, the developing countries have increasingly liberalized their agricultural imports, and opened themselves to the risk of cheaper imports competing with and often displacing the products of local farmers.

The paper presents case studies for Latin America and the Caribbean, Africa and Arab countries and Asia, documenting experiences of problems with agricultural liberalization, which has caused disruption to the livelihoods of small farmers in many of the developing countries.

Although much of the focus in this paper is on how cheap imports are causing problems for small farmers in developing countries, it must be recognized that these farmers also face many problems that are rooted in their inadequate access to land, and poor infrastructure, thereby constraining their ability to produce, store and market even within their own countries.  

The full paper can be found on the TWN website at

With best wishes,
Lim Li Ching
Third World Network
131 Jalan Macalister,
10400 Penang,