Farmer groups and input access: When membership is not enough
This paper explores the efficiency of a targeted fertilizer subsidy program administered differently in two Nigerian states in 2009. An important dimension along which the otherwise similar programs differed was the fertilizer distribution strategy. Fertilizer distribution among program participants was done at the individual level for one set of farmers, while the fertilizer was given indirectly through a group representative for the other set. Where fertilizer was given to a group representative for further distribution to members, relatives of the farm group’s president received more bags of fertilizer than others. Where fertilizer was given directly to farmers such results did not obtain. This differential outcome suggests that while groups may facilitate the process of farmer identification and coordination, elite capture and intra group dynamics may affect their efficacy for providing equal access to inputs for members. Two-tier models enable us to model the potentially separate processes that determine participation in the voucher program and the amount of fertilizer received, upon deciding to participate. With intentions to adopt and scale up voucher programs in various food security and poverty alleviation programs across developing countries, it is important to understand when and how farmer groups can affect the successful implementation of such programs.
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