The world should set as a practical goal of doubling grain yields in low-income Africa and similar regions (such as Haiti) during the next five years.So, Jeffrey, who is the "world" you seem to talk to? Is there some "world" person out there who can solve this problem? I'd be happier if you were asking for divine intervention. Now, without help from "world", we're going to have some problems, as you admit:
Of course, there were abuses, such as the allocation of public credits to richer farmers rather than to needy ones, or the prolonged subsidization of inputs even after farmers became creditworthy. And in many cases, government agricultural banks went bankrupt.I am glad that you have learned from these mistakes. Whoops, maybe not:
History has shown that government action is required to help the poorest farmers escape the low-yield poverty trap. If farmers can be helped to obtain simple technologies, income can rise, and they can accumulate bank balances and collateral. With a bit of temporary help, perhaps lasting around five years, farmers can build up enough wealth to obtain inputs on a market basis, either through direct purchases from savings or through bank loans.First of all, the greatest leap in agricultural productivity (and wealth) occurred when the Chinese government stopped interfering in farmers' decisions. Second, "five years" will not work -- "temporary" international aid has not worked for 60 years.* Third, getting the [World] Bank involved only promises to distribute a lot of money (Bank staffers keep their jobs) that will be stolen by corrupt governments (grants to poor countries will NOT make it to poor farmers; see Collier's Bottom Billion and how 99% of the medical budget was stolen before it reached local clinics).
Jeffrey has his heart in the right place, a great job, and a $2 million condo in NYC, but he clearly has failed to consider the microeconomics of aid, farming, finance, corruption, etc. It's sad that he may actually get people to contribute to his program -- and make things worse. [Sachs has a macro background -- and you can tell.]
Bottom Line: Agricultural productivity and food supplies will ONLY expand when markets are allowed to function. Remove price ceilings on food, allow free trade in food (including exports to the US!), and make poverty history.
* International Aid: Transferring money from poor people in rich countries to rich people in poor countries for over 60 years.