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The 14th World Bank Agricultural Symposium held January 5-6, 1994, pursues further the on-going debate of the appropriate role of the state in promoting agricultural growth and developmentwhile at the same time seeking to capitalize on important lessons emerging from experiences around the world. The deliberations during the symposium focused on the appropriate design and sequencing of macro-economic and sectoral reforms to promote agricutural growth, agricultural market development, the link between property rights to land and agricultural development, the decentralization of the delivery of agricultural support services, and the role of safety nets in mitigating the adverse consequences of adjustment. Deliberations during the symposium highlighted the evolving roles the state and the private sector should play, depending on the structure of agriculture and the political, social and institutional context of each country. The Symposium illustrated the wide variety of issues and the different approaches that have emerged in various countries in redefining the role of government. The papers presented highlight that changing the role of government from market domination towards the provision of a regulatory framework and public goods that provide maximum scope for private sector activity is a continuing process that requires continuous fine-tuning and evaluation, rather than a one-time event. Assisting countries in consolidating the gains from reforms, and adapting to the challenges arising from a rapidly changing international environment, continues to promise large gains in efficiency as well as equity and will be a continuing challenge to the operations of the Bank.

Publisher: World Bank

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