The New Partnership for Africa’s Development (NEPAD) Planning and Coordinating Agency (NPCA) commissioned a study on fertilizer subsidy programs in eight countries in Africa, with technical guidance and financial support provided by the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) of the United Nations, Alliance for a Green Revolution in Africa (AGRA) and IFDC. The study is an overview of different subsidy models, thus providing a menu of options for countries considering subsidies or wanting to alter ongoing subsidy programs.
Since 2005, many African governments have reintroduced or expanded fertilizer subsidy programs to assist their farmers in accessing this critical input. The impetus has come from a number of quarters, including: Malawi’s groundbreaking 2005 fertilizer subsidy program; Resolution 5 of the Abuja Declaration on Fertilizers for an African Green Revolution (the main outcome of the African Union/NEPAD Africa Fertilizer Summit, implemented by IFDC), which called for countries to introduce targeted subsidies for resource-poor farmers as a key measure necessary to promote an African Green Revolution; and the food and fuel crisis of 2007-2008, which drove fertilizer prices to unprecedented heights. Given that fertilizer subsidies are likely to continue to be a key component of agricultural policy in countries in Sub-Saharan Africa (SSA), the NPCA determined that there was an urgent need to commission a study that can serve as a reference, providing guidance and recommendations for the management and implementation of this key policy instrument.
The study focuses on fertilizer subsidy programs in Burkina Faso, Ghana, Malawi, Nigeria, Rwanda, Senegal, Tanzania and Zambia. The guiding hypothesis of the study is that there is a direct link between the design, characteristics and implementation modalities of a subsidy program and its performance. The study analyzes the various subsidy models, identifies major issues that are affecting the implementation of subsidy programs in SSA and provides a menu of options to improve the management and implementation of ongoing subsidy programs in order to bring about a more positive impact on food security.
The study’s output will provide recommendations regarding: (1) key lessons learned and identification of best practices; (2) key components of a well-managed and implemented subsidy program; and (3) conditions and policy recommendations for the successful management and implementation of fertilizer subsidy programs.
The study was presented and discussed for validation during a stakeholder workshop in 2012. The purpose of the workshop is to identify actions to maximize the influence of the recommendations on national fertilizer policy in general and the implementation of fertilizer subsidy programs in particular, and develop a roadmap for the implementation of these priorities.
Updated November 2012