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Short-Term Success versus Long-Term Failure: A Simulation-Based Approach for Understanding the Potential of Zambia’s Fertilizer Subsidy Program in Enhancing Maize Availability

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  • Andreas Gerber

    () (Department of Geography, University of Bergen, Fosswinckelsgate 6, Bergen NO-5020, Norway)

Abstract

In Sub-Saharan Africa, food-related policies such as fertilizer subsidy programs (FSPs) have undergone a revival and triggered a controversy about their impact. In this article I applied a simulation-based approach to examine the FSPs’ short- and long-term potential for increasing maize availability in Zambia. The study revealed that FSPs are an effective policy measure to enhance maize availability in the short-term. However, in the long-term, the food system becomes dependent on the government’s annual expenses. The dependency occurs because FSPs fail to build up adequate stock levels of soil organic matter (SOM), which is an important source of resilience and productivity, and thus represents a long-term leverage point in Zambia’s maize production system. For this reason, alternative policies that combine increasing productivity and building up SOM stock levels were analyzed. They were found to be a viable means for enhancing long-term maize availability. The study concludes that gradually reducing investments in FSPs while simultaneously promoting farming practices that build up SOM stock levels is a promising strategy to enhance maize availability sustainably.

Suggested Citation

  • Andreas Gerber, 2016. "Short-Term Success versus Long-Term Failure: A Simulation-Based Approach for Understanding the Potential of Zambia’s Fertilizer Subsidy Program in Enhancing Maize Availability," Sustainability, MDPI, Open Access Journal, vol. 8(10), pages 1-17, October.
  • Handle: RePEc:gam:jsusta:v:8:y:2016:i:10:p:1036-:d:80889
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    Cited by:

    1. repec:eee:jfpoli:v:75:y:2018:i:c:p:1-14 is not listed on IDEAS
    2. repec:eee:wdevel:v:122:y:2019:i:c:p:54-69 is not listed on IDEAS
    3. repec:bla:srbeha:v:34:y:2017:i:4:p:386-400 is not listed on IDEAS

    More about this item

    Keywords

    Zambia; maize; food production system; fertilizer subsidy program; soil organic matter; food availability; policy analysis; simulation;

    JEL classification:

    • Q - Agricultural and Natural Resource Economics; Environmental and Ecological Economics
    • Q0 - Agricultural and Natural Resource Economics; Environmental and Ecological Economics - - General
    • Q2 - Agricultural and Natural Resource Economics; Environmental and Ecological Economics - - Renewable Resources and Conservation
    • Q3 - Agricultural and Natural Resource Economics; Environmental and Ecological Economics - - Nonrenewable Resources and Conservation
    • Q5 - Agricultural and Natural Resource Economics; Environmental and Ecological Economics - - Environmental Economics
    • Q56 - Agricultural and Natural Resource Economics; Environmental and Ecological Economics - - Environmental Economics - - - Environment and Development; Environment and Trade; Sustainability; Environmental Accounts and Accounting; Environmental Equity; Population Growth
    • O13 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economic Development - - - Agriculture; Natural Resources; Environment; Other Primary Products

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