This panel invites papers that explore the linkages between changing patterns of consumption and demand for food, industrial policy and paths of industrialization on the continent.
This panel invites papers that explore the connections between changing patterns of consumption and demand for food, industrial policy and paths of industrialization and agrarian change on the continent. Urbanization and rising incomes are driving significant disruptions in patterns of food consumption across the continent. Imports of food are rising but these changing consumption patterns are also having a significant effect on forms of food production for the home market. Agro-processing makes up a large proportion of the manufacturing base and therefore its characteristics and growth path shed important light on broader processes of economic transformation that are occurring. Correspondingly, the return of industrial policy to many African countries over the past decade has been accompanied by increased focus on promoting agro-processing. Connections with global export markets has been the main focus of research and less is known about the wide array of industrial activities involved in food production for the home market. The challenges of implementing successful industrial policy in the sector are embedded in complex rural and urban political economies and in inter-firm relations across value chains. The questions this panel addresses include the following: How are changing patterns of food demand and consumption affecting processes of industrial and agrarian change? What are the characteristics of agro-processing and how are these changing over time? What kind of industrial policy can best promote the acquisition of capabilities, productivity growth and gainful employment within the sector? How do relations between firms in agro-processing and the state shape contemporary industrial policy?