Disrupting Demand for Commercial Seed: Input Subsidies in Malawi and Zambia
Input subsidy programs that provide inorganic fertilizer and improved maize seed to small farmers below market rates are currently receiving a great deal of support as a sustainable strategy to foster an African Green Revolution. In recent years numerous countries in Sub-Saharan Africa (SSA) including Ghana, Kenya, Malawi, Mali, Senegal, Tanzania, and Zambia have implemented such programs at substantial cost to government and donor budgets. For example, in 2008 Malawi spent roughly 70% of the Ministry of Agriculture’s budget or just over 16% of the government’s total budget subsidizing fertilizer and seed. In Zambia between 2004 and 2011, an average of 40% of the government’s agricultural sector budget was devoted to fertilizer and maize seed subsidies each year.
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