By Wim Pelupessy, Reurd Ruben
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Extra resources for Agrarian Policies in Central America
The yields per hectare stagnated and decreased for coffee, cotton and the food crop beans. In general, there was a decrease in harvested land for each crop with the exception of beans. The strongly positive growth rates of Taiwanese agriculture are based on both output and productivity growth of all its main crops. Sugar, tea and bananas were to some extent replaced by soybeans and peanuts. It is interesting to compare the absolute yields of the two crops both countries have in common: rice and sugarcane.
The direct impact of reforms should be measured in growth, efﬁciency and equity terms: production and productivity in agriculture, productive employment, marketable surpluses, income distribution and rural poverty. Political effects such as changes in stability in rural areas, social polarization and class structures may have a more indirect and long-lasting character than the economic factors mentioned earlier and may affect the sustainability of these. However, it goes too far to qualify land reform as a ‘political exercise with surprisingly few solid economic underpinnings’ (Timmer, 1991: 16).
Third, land reform need not be purely market oriented; widespread and autonomous state intervention may be even seen as a condition for successful reform. Finally, political objectives are not necessarily detrimental to reform. An anti-communist or politically Wim Pelupessy 41 otherwise oriented land reform could be successful if the political goals have their correct place in the decision-making process, if its economic costs are calculated correctly and if politics does not contradict economic decisions.