Input Subsidy Programs and Climate Smart Agriculture: Current Realities and Future Potential
October 21, 2017 - Author: Jayne T.S., Sitko N.J., Mason N.M., Skole D.
Jayne T.S., Sitko N.J., Mason N.M., Skole D. (2018) Input Subsidy Programs and Climate Smart Agriculture: Current Realities and Future Potential. In: Lipper L., McCarthy N., Zilberman D., Asfaw S., Branca G. (eds) Climate Smart Agriculture. Natural Resource Management and Policy, vol 52. Springer, Cham
The achievement of Climate Smart Agriculture (CSA) goals in Africa will require widespread farmer adoption of practices and technologies that promote resilience and system-wide collective action to promote ex ante climate risk management activities and ex post coping strategies. Leveraging public sector resources is critical to achieve goals at scale. This study examines the scope for input subsidy programs (ISPs) to contribute to achieving CSA objectives in Africa. Available evidence to date suggests that in most cases ISPs have had either no effect on or have reduced SSA smallholders’ use of potentially CSA practices. However, recent innovations in ISPs may promote some climate smart objectives by contributing to system-level ex-ante risk management. In particular, restricted voucher systems for improved seed types that utilize private sector distribution supply chains may prove capable of promoting CSA goals. Generally, moving from systems that prescribe a fixed input packet to a flexible system with a range of input choices holds promise, but fixed systems still hold some benefits. Conditional ISPs would require improved monitoring and compliance as well as defining practices with clearly measurable productivity benefits vis-à-vis CSA goals. The potential of ISPs to achieve widespread CSA benefits must address these challenges and be evaluated against benefits of investments in irrigation, physical infrastructure, and public agricultural research and extension, which may generate higher comprehensive social benefits.