Managing Food Security In Unregulated Markets
The major grain producing nations are moving toward the reduction of domestic and export subsidies to agriculture. The grain importing nations are reducing import barriers. As world markets evolve, grain will tend to be produced in areas that have a comparative advantage in grain production. Over time, production will shift to least-cost areas. Moving toward market orientation during the 1980's, the United States sharply modified its grain policy so that nonrecourse loans are no longer used as price enhancement devices. The loan rates are established at a percentage below the moving average price and now provide a safety net for prices when aggregate output is much larger than normal in relation to demand. This change tends to remove the United States from its long-term role as residual supplier to the world markets. U.S. grains are more likely to be priced competitively, and stocks are unlikely to accumulate in government storage.