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Land and Environment : Agribusiness Assoc. of Australia

Agribusiness Perspectives Papers 1999

Paper 22
ISSN 1442-6951

The Asia-Pacific Rice Trade: A preliminary investigation of the issues

Dr. Brian Davidson and Nanette Esparon1
Department of Food Science and Agribusiness, Institute of Land and Food Resources,
The University of Melbourne, Parkville, Vic 3052

1 Presented to the 43rd Annual Conference of the Australian Agricultural and Resource Economics Society, Christchurch NZ, January 20-22, 1999.

1. Introduction - Background to the Problem
2. Aims
3. The Identification of Problems in the Rice Market
4. The Effects of Policy Intervention in the Asia-Pacific Rice Trade
5. Moves towards Deregulation and the Growth in International Trade
6. Explanations of Why Intervention Occurs
7. Conclusions - Areas that Require Further Analysis
Appendix 1. A Summary of Selected Studies of the Asia Pacific Rice trade
Selected Bibliography
Table 1: The Supply and Demand for Rice in the Asia-Pacific Region
Table 2: Own-Price Elasticities of Demand and Supply of Rice
Table 3: Rice Trade Barriers in the Asia-Pacific Region 1986-87
Table 4: Rice Prices in Selected Countries 1992


Rice is a vital food crop to a vast majority of the world's population. With continuing growth in world population and with the added concerns of the Asian Economic Crisis, the pressure is growing to create another green revolution to meet the world's food needs. Under such a scenario, it has been argued that investment in irrigation infrastructure projects and higher yielding varieties of rice is needed to feed more people. The importance of rice to many countries, especially in Asia, has meant that governments have instituted policies that promote greater self-sufficiency in rice. Consequently only four per cent of world production of rice is traded across national boarders. From a theoretical standpoint, the approach of promoting self-sufficiency by restricting trade is not beneficial to either the country that imposes the policy or to exporting countries, and yet it is the approach most commonly favored by legislators and producers concerned with food shortages. The aim in this study is to investigate the literature on patterns of rice production and trade in the Asia - Pacific region to ascertain whether the issues of trade liberalisation have been adequately addressed. It is concluded that what is required is an assessment of the political economy of the rice trade, so that the political economic processes are understood, and not just the economic and technical processes. The construction of current, comprehensive trade model would assist in the estimation of the effects of the trade liberalisation process. This dual political and economic approach overcomes many of the shortcomings of previous partial economic analyses of the rice trade. 

1. Introduction - Background to the Problem

Rice is one of the world's most important staple crops. It provides 25 to 80 per cent of the calories in the daily diet of half the population of the globe. In 1997 approximately 573 million tonnes of rice were harvested, nearly all of which was used for human consumption. Of all the crops grown in the world only wheat and corn production was greater, at 609 and 585 million tonnes, respectively. However, as 20 per cent of wheat and 65 per cent of corn production was consumed by the livestock sector, rice could be classified as the world's number one human-food crop.

Rice is grown in 87 different countries in climatic systems varying from the flood plains of Bangladesh to the Himalayan foothills of Nepal and from the rain forests of Indonesia to the desert plains of Australia. Further, rice is produced using technologies that vary from the most primitive slash and burn techniques employed in Kalimantan, through to the sophisticated irrigated farms in the Sacramento Valley of California.

Despite the importance of rice to many people and the diversity under which it is produced, only four per cent of the total amount produced is traded across national borders (IRRI, 1995). This is most possibly due to the degree of government intervention, which at worst prevents or at best inhibits trade. Such is the importance of rice that it is embodied within the cultural and religious structure of many countries. A number of governments have used the rationale of economic need and cultural ties to justify policies of self-sufficiency. These policies lead to what Johnston (1973) has described as 'the disarray in agriculture', where comparative advantage does not govern the production of goods and prices become distorted.

If rice is to maintain its role as one of the world's staples, in an environment in which population growth is not under control, then some method needs to be found to increase the efficiency of rice production and rice marketing. If more rice is grown in areas where it is more suited it will be produced more efficiently and it can be transported to regions where it is needed, thus providing benefits to all. The cost savings from rationalising the policies, which restrict rice trade, may well be significant and enjoyed in aggregate by all countries involved in the trade. However, the concerns of deregulating policies do not center on the well-documented countrywide aggregate benefits, but revolve around the redistribution effects that result. Rodrik (1996) has noted that many East Asian economies have pursued highly interventionist microeconomic policies. One area where policy intervention has been greatest has been in the trade in rice. It must be asked, both politically and economically, how these policies came about, who benefits from them and what do they cost the global economy. Once these questions are resolved an analysis of the reform of the individual policies can be undertaken. If, as suspected, the costs of policies that restrict the trade in rice are large, the potential exists to improve the efficiency in the market. This is achieved by modifying/eliminating the policy measures to some degree.

2. Aims

The aim in this paper is to undertake the preliminary investigation of the problem of restricted trade in rice by reviewing the literature and analytical assessments of the rice market. From this base, it is envisaged that gaps in the literature can be identified and a path for further investigation can be identified.

Reviewing literature is essentially an act of establishing where the frontier of knowledge exists. In doing this there are three specific questions that need to be addressed. First, is the problem worthy of study? Answers to this question are not only derived from the urgency of it, (in this case the need to feed people which was discussed earlier) but also from the stand point of understanding and resolving the concerns people may have regarding the market. Second, has the work that has been undertaken sufficiently up-to-date that it can be used to address current concerns? Third, from the literature surveyed, are there any studies that provide the direction needed to further understand the market and address its problems?

3. The Identification of Problems in the Rice Market

Within the Asia-Pacific region the countries which play a major role in the market are the export nations (of Australia, the USA, Vietnam, Thailand, Myanmar and Pakistan) and those who import rice, albeit a negligible amount of rice could be considered to be self-sufficient, (such as Japan, South Korea, China, Taiwan, the Philippines, Indonesia, Malaysia, Bangladesh and India). These countries include seven of the world's largest producers and four of the five largest consumers of rice. In total, these countries accounted for 509 million tonnes of production in 1998, nearly 95 per cent of world production (see Table 1).

A major concern of many analysts, notably Unklesbay (1992), Hossain (1996), Pingali et al. (1997) and Barkema (1997) has been that the demand for rice will overwhelm available supplies. The general consensus amongst these authors is summarised by Pingali, et al. who argue that:

  • the productivity gains from the green revolution are nearly exhausted;
  • Asian farmers face increasing costs, if further technological advances are not made;
  • the demand for rice is expected to increase by 50 to 60 per cent by the year 2025; and
  • rice yields must increase to meet future rice requirements and to sustain farm profits.

Table 1: The Supply and Demand for Rice in the Asia-Pacific Region 

Country Supply - 000 tonnes Demand - 000 tonnes
1992 1998 % change 1992 1998 % change
Australia 957 1100 15 498 528 6
USA 8149 8200 1 5899 6162 4
Japan 13216 11100 -16 14049 14470 3
S. Korea 7303 6400 -12 7304 7835 7
China&Taiwan 188255 190600 1 189021 206033 9
Philippine 9129 11000 20 9247 10634 15
Vietnam 21590 27300 26 19642 22235 13
Thailand 20180 22400 11 14608 15923 9
Indonesia 48240 50800 5 48689 54532 12
Malaysia 2070 1970 -5 2514 2697 7
Myanmar 14835 18900 27 14598 15659 7
India 108845 124500 14 109493 122632 12
Pakistan 4674 6600 41 3262 3751 15
Bangledesh 27510 28182 2 27325 30604 12
Total Asia-Pacific 474953 509052 7 466149 513695 10

Notes: Demand for rice in 1998 estimated from population growth rates.
na is not available.
Sources: IRRI (1992, 1995) World Rice Statistics, Manila.
ABARE (1997) Australian Commodity Statistics, Canberra 

Table 1 (continued)

Country Exports Imports Trade Balance
1992 1998 %   change 1992 1998 % change 1992 1998 % change
Australia 519 700 35 0 0 - 519 700 35
USA 2165 3000 39 0 0 - 2165 3000 39
Japan 5 0 -100 18 650 3511 -13 -650 -4900
S. Korea 0 0 0 1 0 - -1 0 100
China&Taiwan 1034 2300 122 107 300 180 927 2000 116
Philippines 35 0 -100 1 2000 199900 34 -2000 -5782
Vietnam 1950 3600 85 2 0 - 1948 3600 84
Thailand 5151 6200 20 0 0 - 5151 6200 20
Indonesia 43 0 -100 610 5700 834 -567 -5700 905
Malaysia 0 0 0 444 650 46 -444 -650 -46
Myanmar 205 na na 0 na - 205 na na
India 560 3000 436 43 0 -100 517 3000 480
Pakistan 1512 2000 32 0 0 0 1512 2000 32
Bangledesh 0 0 - 7 na - -7 na na
Total Asia-Pacific 13179 20800 58 1233 9300 654 11946 11500 -4

Sources: IRRI (1992, 1995) World Rice Statistics, Manila.
ABARE (1997) Australian Commodity Statistics, Canberra 

The major conclusion and policy recommendation that arises from these studies is that:

"The possibility of a re-emergence of a food crisis in land scarce low- and middle-income countries, however, cannot be ruled out unless the trend towards the reduction of investment in irrigation infrastructure and in food grain research is reversed, and rice research succeeds in making a break through in developing high-yielding varieties resistant to abiotic stress." (Hossain, 1996, p.29-30).

A real fear amongst these analysts appears to be that the Asia-Pacific region may need to rely on imports to feed its growing population. The fear of having to rely on imports is unfounded as it is at odds with the theoretical principles of comparative advantage and specialisation. Furthermore, it could be the case that selected countries in the region become reliant on exports from other countries within the same region, thus improving the welfare of all, without affecting the global supply and demand for rice. Another fear amongst these analysts is that with deregulation comes redistribution, where the landless poor could suffer.

Those who argue that the world faces a food shortage, rely on an analysis of the projected growth in supply and demand Hossain, (1996 p.28) argues that the ". annual growth in global rice production was only 1.8 per cent per year during the 1985-1993 period, compared to 2.8 per cent during 1975-1985 and 3.6 per cent the decade earlier". It would appear that in the Asia-Pacific countries a similar slowing in the growth rate in rice supply occurred between 1992 and 1998, of only one per cent per year on average (see Table 1). Given a projected increase in demand of nearly two per cent per year, a Malthusian disaster would appear to be imminent. However, a closer examination of the production data reveals that in some countries (Australia, the Philippines, Vietnam, Thailand, Myanmar, India and Pakistan) production grew by more than two per cent per year, while it fell by the same rate in the relatively wealthy nations of Japan and South Korea, where eating habits may be changing as incomes rise (Ito et al. 1989). In the other markets of India, China, Indonesia, Bangladesh and the USA, production grew slightly. The beguiling fact in this analysis is that in China, the world's largest producer and consumer of rice, production between 1992 and 1998 grew by only one per cent per year in total over this period.

A consequence of those concerned with the limited production of rice is the responsiveness of supply and demand to changes in prices. If the own-price elasticity of supply is highly inelastic, then the opportunity to react to higher price is limited. A cursory glance at estimates of the own-price elasticities of supply of rice in Asia-Pacific regions reveals that they are highly inelastic (see Table 2).

 Table 2: Own-Price Elasticities of Demand and Supply of Rice

Country Supply Demand
High quality Indica Low quality Indica Japonica High quality Indica Low quality Indica Japonica
Australia 0.40 0.40 0.60 -0.45 -0.45 -0.45
Myanmar 0.00 0.03 0.00 0.00 -0.06 0.00
Bangladesh 0.00 0.04 0.00 0.00 -0.03 0.00
USA 0.40 0.40 0.30 -0.25 -0.25 -0.20
Japan 0.20 0.20 0.30 -0.05 -0.10 -0.10
S. Korea 0.25 0.25 0.35 -0.20 -0.25 -0.20
Philippine 0.00 0.25 0.00 0.00 -0.33 0.00
Vietnam 0.10 0.20 0.00 -0.15 -0.15 0.00
Thailand 0.33 0.33 0.10 -0.10 -0.10 -0.05
Indonesia 0.00 0.20 0.00 0.00 -0.22 0.00
Malaysia 0.50 0.00 0.00 -0.33 0.00 0.00
India 0.40 0.00 0.00 -0.50 0.00 0.00
Pakistan 0.03 0.03 0.02 -0.14 -0.14 -0.10
China 0.07 0.15 0.15 -0.05 -0.12 -0.12
Taiwan 0.20 0.10 0.20 -0.25 -0.25 -0.25

Source: Cramer et al., Arkansas Agricultural Experiment Station, Special Report 153, 1991
USDA Trade Liberalization Database, Economic Research Service, 1989. 

 This is particularly the case of countries where population pressures are greatest; China (at 0.07), Indonesia (0.2), Bangladesh (0.03) and Pakistan (0.03). In countries where the potential exists to expand supply, like Australia and the USA, the situation is not as limiting with estimates of 0.6 and 0.4, respectively. It should be noted that the own-price elasticity of supply differs according to the variety in question. With the own-price elasticity of demand, the more inelastic it is, the more a shortage in supply will be reflected in a significantly greater increase in prices, which in turn may have catastrophic effects on the landless poor. It is apparent that the own-price elasticity of demand for rice is highly inelastic in all markets, especially in China (-0.05), India (-0.50), Indonesia (-0.22) and Pakistan (-0.14).

The conclusion that can be drawn from this analysis is that the concerns that have been expressed regarding the danger of famine are valid. However, this may not occur on a global basis as some countries have the potential to react to a shortage in the market. While China, Bangladesh and Indonesia face the highest risk of a famine, given their population size, food needs and sluggish growth, the concerns in India, Pakistan, Vietnam, the Philippines and Thailand appear to be receding. For those countries in greatest need, potential suppliers exist within the region, if a shortage occurred. However, according to those who are most worried about food shortages, policies that promote reliance on imports are considered to be inferior to those that guarantee self-sufficiency. This irrational belief has its foundations, not in the potential efficiency gains that could be captured, but in the redistribution effects that will result from policy liberalisation.

The concerns of Pingali et al. (1997) amongst many others is that liberalising self-sufficiency policy and opening up trade will reduce the supply and prices to farmers while increasing prices to consumers and thus ultimately increase the level of poverty. Yet the evidence of greater liberalisation in Indonesia, the Philippines and in Vietnam tends to disprove this. The only study that comes close to analysing this problem in any depth was conducted by Minot and Goletti (1998). Their study was an analysis of trade liberalisation (reducing export quotas) in a single country (Vietnam) and yet encompassed the effects on poverty reduction and the communities well being. They quote Mellor's (1978, in Minot and Goletti, 1998 p.738) argument that ". the direct welfare effect of higher food prices depends on the net sales position of the household: net sellers, such as commercial farmers' gain, while net buyers, such as urban consumers and landless rural households lose". Using their insight, Minot and Goletti (1998) estimated the effects of trade liberalisation measures on the level and distribution of poverty. They found that increased liberalisation has had a positive effect on income distribution and poverty alleviation in Vietnam.

4. The Effects of Policy Intervention in the Asia-Pacific Rice Trade

The fear of a shortage of a staple, real or imagined, is usually enough to get a government to legislate for its protection. Given the importance of rice as a staple it is not surprising that a plethora of acts of legislation exist to promote production and to restrict trade. Over the past 20 years policies which have regulated the rice market in the Asia-Pacific region can be segregated into border restraint measures (such as tariffs and import restrictions), deficiency payment schemes, input subsidies and currency manipulations.

It is difficult to catalogue all the policies that have operated in the Asia-Pacific region as they are numerous and are constantly under review. However, it is generally believed that the impacts of policy intervention in the agricultural sector were greatest in 1986-1987. (This period is the basis for reductions in policy intervention required by the Uruguay Round of the GATT agreement). Cramer et al. (1991) detailed levels of trade barriers in selected countries in 1986-87 on both an ad valorum (percentage) and per unit (US$/tonne) tax basis (see Table 3). Both these measures are important as a change in the ad valorum taxes alters the slope of the relevant supply or demand function, while changes in the per unit taxes affects the intercept of the supply or demand functions.

Assistance to selected markets is greatest in those countries that employ border restriction measures, particularly tariffs. Of these countries, Japan, South Korea, Taiwan and the USA employ measures that increase prices from $US 109 to over $US 2,000 per tonne. The Philippines, Australia, Thailand and Indonesia employ measures that increase producer prices by up to 60 per cent, while India taxes producers by up to 10 per cent. While data is not available for Pakistan, Myanmar, Bangladesh and Vietnam, from the policies they employ, it can be asserted that producers are taxed to subsidise domestic prices. For example in Pakistan a government procurement scheme exists which not only results in low farmer prices, but also equates the price of their high quality Basmati exports with their inferior IRRI rice varieties (Davidson, 1996).

Table 3: Rice Trade Barriers in the Asia-Pacific Region 1986-87

Country Ad Valorum
Tax (%)
Per Unit
Tax ($US/tonne)
Australia 20 -
USA - 109
Japan - 2121
S. Korea - 700
China &Taiwan - 399
Philippine 60 -
Vietnam na na
Thailand 5 -
Indonesia 7.5 -
Malaysia - -
Myanmar na na
India -10 -
Pakistan na na
Bangladesh na na

Source: Cramer et al., Arkansas Agricultural Experiment Station, Special Report, 1991 

The effects these policies had on prices in 1992 are detailed in Table 4. Taking the price farmers receive and comparing it to both procurement and retail prices, once they have all been converted to US dollars, produces what can only be described as a variation amongst countries that is artificially wider than that caused by any differences that may result from those associated with transport and marketing charges alone. The farm gate and retail prices in Japan and South Korea are abnormally high reflecting the policies that support producer prices and restrict imports. In China and India, producer prices are higher than consumer prices reflecting policies that subsidise consumer prices. In Pakistan Indonesia, Thailand, and the Philippines, the abnormally large differential between procurement and retail prices is reflective of policies in which governments tax the transactions between producers and consumers.

Table 4: Rice Prices in Selected Countries 1992

Country Farmer Price $US/tonne Procurement Price $US/tonne Retail Price $US/tonne
Australia 560 na na
USA 287 na na
Japan 3135 2156 3972
South Korea 1130 1225 1786
China 154 106 87
Philippines 171 235 378
Vietnam na na na
Thailand 129 161 404
Indonesia 184 167 278
Malaysia na 292 369
India 147 104 123
Pakistan 147 104 123

Source: International Rice Research Institute, World Rice Statistics, 1992, 1995 

5. Moves towards Deregulation and the Growth in International Trade

A major change that has occurred in the market is the evolution of trading patterns. Within the Asia-Pacific region exports from countries have risen by approximately 60 per cent, while imports have increased by approximately 650 per cent, between 1992 and 1998 (see Table 1). While these exports and imports represent only a small proportion of production, they do represent a significant shift in thinking regarding the rice market. The advantage of trade is that instead of worrying about the ability to supply their own needs from their own resources, individual countries can consume beyond their limited production possibility frontier by exporting the goods they have a comparative advantage in and import those that they do not product efficiently. This has only really become more feasible since the conclusion of the Uruguay Round of GATT.

A number of studies have been undertaken on the effects of trade liberalisation on the rice trade, particularly since 1992 when the Uruguay Round was signed. Details of 27 studies are presented in Davidson and Esparon (1999) and a selected bibliography of these studies, their aims and the countries and regions they apply to are included at the end of this paper. These studies encompass the major policy intervention in place in some (but not all) markets. In some of those studies, there is a recognition that rice is not a heterogeneous product and should be separated into the markets for Japonica and Indica varieties. Further, while a variety of techniques are employed, depending on the problem at hand and data available, generally either an econometric or spatial equilibrium programming approach is taken.

A typical study was undertaken by Cramer et al. (1993). They analysed rice trade flows and prices using a global rice spatial equilibrium model to estimate the impact of trade liberalisation in 12 exporting and 46 importing countries. They assumed a competitive market and linear demand and supply functions, and used a multi-product quadratic-programming model to analyse trade flows and prices under 1986 and 1987 trade distortions, and under simulated free trade. The quasi-welfare function was defined as the sum of all importers' and exporters' surpluses over all markets and products. The optimal solution was obtained by maximising this function subject to the linear arbitrage condition and spatial equilibrium conditions.

Phillips et al.(1994) used the SWOPSIM world agricultural trade model to estimate the outcome of the agreed market access requirements for rice in Japan, South Korea and Taiwan under the Uruguay Round negotiations. SWOPSIM is a medium term model and therefore the results should be interpreted as the impacts that these policy changes could have five years after the policy changes were implemented. Their analysis was based on a static, partial equilibrium-modelling framework confined to the agricultural sector. Their model was modified to incorporate three different types of rice. They found that the impact of opening up the North East Asian markets on the world rice market would depend on the variety of imported rice. If it were to be the Japonica variety, then Australia, US and northern China would benefit from the increased demand and higher world prices. If Japan, South Korea and Taiwan were to import only Japonica rice, the finding was that the world price of that rice could increase by up to 30 per cent, relative to what would otherwise be the case, depending to a considerable extent on the degree of substitution in consumption in the rest of the world. As well, the total value of Australian exports of Japonica rice could be between $A 22 million and $A 95 million higher than otherwise, depending to a considerable extent on the degree of substitution in consumption in the rest of the world.

Despite the worth and detailed nature of these studies they tend to suffer from two significant deficiencies. First, there tends to be a concentration on assessing single markets or single policy measures. In a dynamic environment changes in one market or policy intervention will affect all markets. Second, all these studies do not consider the political, social and cultural factors which led to the policies or the effects that will result by changing them.

6. Explanations of Why Intervention Occurs

While many analysts have assessed the effects policies have had on these markets the political rationale for their imposition is somewhat more shadowy. A simple answer lies in the traditional food-farm problem framework. Using this framework it is believed that as countries become richer and more developed (such as Japan, South Korea, Taiwan, and the USA) their agricultural sectors decline in importance. Supply shifts more than demand, resulting in prices falling as the quantity produced rises (Gardiner 1992). Political pressure is brought to bear on governments who subsidise agricultural producers with deficiency payment schemes and protect their markets by closing their borders to international competition. In poorer countries, such as India, Pakistan, Bangladesh and China, a food problem could be said to exist. The concern of policy makers is that supply shifts are relatively smaller than demand shifts, resulting in prices rising. Governments then tax what are considered to be the profiteering that is occurring in the market in order to provide cheap food to a hopefully growing urban population which is being used in the emerging industrial sector. In both the food and farm problem situations, the political actions of governments can be explained using either the private or public interest components of the Theory of Public Choice.

Such a simple approach to an assessment of the political intervention in the rice market suffers from a number of deficiencies. First, little is revealed on the domestic and international ramifications of imposing policies. Second, individual gainers and losers are not identified in any disaggregate sense, other than in the broad categories of consumers, producers and taxpayers. Third, while a lot is said regarding why policies are imposed, little is revealed on the need and pressure that currently exists to liberalise these policies. Fourth, as Quiggin (1987) points out, the Theory of Public Choice has not stood up to a rigorous assessment. Finally, these approaches reveal nothing of the impact policy interventions might have for the broad macro economic variables of growth, income distribution and employment.

There is a clear need to incorporate the principles of political science and the theories of income distribution into an analysis of these policies. A study by Minot and Goletti (1998) who assessed the liberalisation of rice exports in Vietnam, provides a good example of how the welfare and income distribution effects could be assessed. As for how the political concern could be assessed little is known, except in a partial sense in studies by Miller (1987) and Anderson and Hayami (1986). It is apparent since the formation of APEC and the Uruguay Round of GATT, that there is a pressing need to study these effects in more detail, as the market is being deregulated and international trade is beginning to grow.

7. Conclusions - Areas that Require Further Analysis

The purpose in this study was to review the literature on the Asia-Pacific rice trade - a market which is highly important to the well being of its citizens, yet which is characterised by massive government intervention and as a consequence is thinly traded. Reviews of literature are an attempt to find the frontier of knowledge, identify whether any gaps exist in that knowledge, and to analyse if that work can be enhanced. It can be concluded that a significant amount of work has been undertaken on analysing the Asia-Pacific rice trade and the policies that have an impact on rice trade. However, the approach taken in all these assessments are similar and do not address the concerns expressed in the market. In particular, it would appear that only one analyst (Minot and Goletti 1998) has adequately handled the redistribution effects of deregulation in the market. The question of long run supply and demand concerns has not been addressed. If anything it could be argued that economists have only analysed market efficiency in a narrow context. There is scope to expand on these studies and thus answer some of the concerns raised by those who question the adequacy of rice supplies in the Asia-Pacific region.

The problem with many assessments of the rice trade is that they tend to be a partial analysis of the problem. A problem with the single commodity, single country, single policy type analysis is that they do not capture the international ramifications of policy intervention (see Davidson 1993). There is no explanation of how policies should be liberalised from a political standpoint. As Cramer et al., states:

'While the presence of governments in the market does not necessarily reduce the importance of the price mechanism ., it does imply that rice markets are strongly influenced by political as well as economic factors'. (Cramer et al., 1993, p.2).

It is a relatively simple task of estimating the economic effects of reducing policy measures. Saying how this might be achieved in a country where such policies create a diverse and often hidden set of winners and losers who operate in different political climates is a more difficult task. To do this adequately requires knowledge of the political processes in operation.

Appendix 1. A Summary of Selected Studies of the Asia Pacific Rice trade

Study Country/Region


Sugiyanto & Yanagida (1993) Indonesia To measure the responsiveness of farmers to changes in output and input prices.
Ali (1987) Indonesia To measure the impacts of price policy interventions in output and input markets.
Ellis (1993) Indonesia To assess price stabilisation and seasonality in the rice market.
Timmer (1996) Indonesia To investigate government intervention in Indonesia.
Jones (1995) Indonesia To assess price stabilisation and buffer stock schemes.
Kesavan et al. (1993) Indonesia Price stabilisation effects on yield and input demand.
Warr & Thapa (1999) Indonesia A study of the effects of rice subsidies on rice consumption in Indonesia.
Myoung (1989) South Korea To analyses dual price and Rice Procurement Price schemes on output prices.
Pingali et al. (1997) Vietnam To review the Vietnamese rice market in light of deregulation.
Minot & Goletti (1998) Vietnam To examine the effect of further export liberalization on regional rice prices.
Otsuka & Hayami (1984) Japan To analyse social costs of Japan's rice policies (particularly import restrictions).
Hayami & Godo (1995) Japan To evaluate Japan's rice policy for economic and political viewpoints.
Riethmuller et al. (1996) Japan To review developments in Japanese agricultural sector from 1991-1995.
Kako et al. (1997) Japan To assess the minimum assess rice imports on rice supply and demand balance in Japan.
Song & Carter (1996) United States To look at the effects of rice liberalization and US policy if rice is treated as differentiated.
Gilbert (1996) United States To examine the implication of trade liberalization on food aid flows.
Yoon (1988) World To develop a spatial equilibrium model to estimate equilibrium trade volumes and prices for the Southern US rice industry and major rice exporters under free trade conditions.
Cornelisse & Kuijpers (1987) Pakistan To assess if Pakistan should increase grain exports.
Chen (1994) Taiwan To assess how economic policy influence price volatility in Taiwan.
Gibson (1994) Papua New Guinea To assess whether increasing rice self-sufficiency in PNG would be a sensible use of resources.
Tyers & Anderson (1986) East Asia To estimate effects on international prices and people's welfare of grain and meat.
David (1989) Philippines To analyse the structural changes, causes and consequences of Philippine agricultural policies.
Yap (1996) World Implications of the Uruguay Round Agreement of agriculture for world rice production, trade, consumption and international prices.
Cramer et al. (1993) World To assess the impacts of liberalizing trade in the world rice market.
Philips et al. (1994) Asia & Australia To consider the implications for Australia of the opening of the N.E. Asia rice markets.
Taylor et al. (1996) USA & Thaliand To investigate the relationship between the US, world and Thai milled rice price.
Timmer (1993) Selected Asian To analyses increased price stabilization in Japan, South Korea, Indonesia and the Philippines.

Selected Bibliography  

ABARE (1997) Australian Commodity Statistics, Australian Government Publishing Society, Canberra, Australia.

Ali, I. "Rice in Indonesia: Price policy and Comparative Advantage." Bulletin of Indonesian Economic Studies 23, no. 3(1987): 80-99.

Anderson, K., and Y. Hayami. "The political economy of agricultural protection: East Asia in international perspective", ed. Aurelia George, Sydney; London and Boston, Allen and Unwin in association with the Australian National University, Australia-Japan Research Centre, (1986):185.

Barkema, A. and M. Drabenstott. "Will foreign capital build food systems in developing countries?" American Journal of Agricultural Economics 79, no. 3 (1997): 613-20.

Chen, J. "Does Economic Policy influence the price volatility of commodities? an econometric investigation of the rice market in Taiwan", ed. S. David, and M. Wyn, Aldershot, U.K. Elgar, (1994):123-51.

Cornelisse, P. A., and B. Kuijpers. "A policy model of the wheat and rice economy of Pakistan." Pakistan Development Review 26, no. 4 (1987): 385-96.

Cramer, G.I., Wailes, E.J., Goroski, J.M. and S.P. Phillips. "The impact of liberalising trade on the world rice market: A spatial Model including rice quality." . Arkansas Agricultural Experiment Station, November 1991.

Cramer, G. I., Wailes, E.J., and S. Shui. "Impacts of liberalizing trade in the world rice market." American Journal of Agricultural Economics 75, no. 1(1993): 219-26.

David, C. C. "Philippines: Rice policy in transition", ed. S. Terry. Ithaca and London, Cornell University Press, (1989):154-82.

Davidson, B. "Estimating the elasticity of export demand for Basmati rice from Pakistan: A preliminary analysis." . Agricultural Social Sciences Research Centre, University of Agriculture, Faisalabad, November 1996.

Davidson, B. "Government intervention in interdependent markets: An investigation of the Australian and New Zealand wool markets." PhD, University of New England, 1993.

Davidson, B. and N. Esparon. "The Asia Pacific Rice Trade: A Preliminary Investigation of the Issues", paper presented at the 43rd Annual Conference of the Australian Agricultural and Resource Economics Society, Christchurch NZ, 20-22 January 1999.

Ellis, F. "Rice marketing in Indonesia: Methodology and results of a research study." Bulletin of Indonesian Economic Studies 29, no. 1(1993): 105-23.

Gardiner, B. L. "Changing economic perspectives on the farm problem." Journal of Economic Literature 30, no. 1(1992): 62-101.

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