The appropriate role of governments in facilitating the effective functioning of agricultural markets was a hot topic this week at a multi-stakeholder meeting on Southern African agriculture this past week. It's a controversial subject, particularly when organised commercial agriculture and industry are (as they need to be) part of the discussion.
The fact remains that agriculture is crucial for many Southern African countries. Not only is it the major generator of foreign currency for many, like Malawi, it is also the primary source of income for a large proportion of most Southern African countries. So, what should, for example, the government of Zambia do in this situation where millers claim maize bran (required to as feed by many dairy farmers) is available and farmers disagree? What is the role of government in ensuring that agricultural markets function effectively?