Social Protection in Africa

Social Protection in Africa

Frank Ellis, Stephen Devereux and Phillip White

The purpose of this book is to make accessible to a broad audience the ideas, principles and practicalities of establishing effective social protection in Africa. It focuses on the major shift in strategy for tackling hunger and vulnerability, from emergency responses mainly in the form of food transfers to predictable cash transfers to the chronically poorest social groups. The diverse case studies in this book provide a unique and timely exploration of the effective, and less effective, ways that social transfers are delivered to the chronically poor and vulnerable in Sub-Saharan Africa.

Chapter 21: Case Study 11. Input Subsidy Programme, Malawi

Frank Ellis, Stephen Devereux and Phillip White

Subjects: development studies, development studies, social policy and sociology, comparative social policy, economics of social policy, social policy in emerging countries


OVERVIEW The Input Subsidy Programme (ISP) in Malawi is a fertilizer and maize seed subsidy programme covering the entire country. It has operated since 2005/06 and 2006/07, and is a successor to earlier input subsidy schemes such as the Targeted Input Programme (2000–04) and Starter Pack (1998–2000). ISP is funded by the Government of Malawi and implemented by the Ministry of Agriculture, as well as by the public fertilizer distribution agencies Agricultural Development and Marketing Corporation (ADMARC) and the Smallholder Farmers Fertilizer Revolving Fund Malawi (SFFRFM). ISP is a coupon-based subsidy scheme. Eligible small maize farmers receive two coupons, one for 50 kilograms basal dressing (NPK 23–21–0) and one for 50 kilograms urea, entitling the holder to purchase the fertilizer at MK950 (US$6.8) per bag. Coupons are also issued to tobacco farmers for compound D and CAN (‘tobacco fertilizers’). In 2005/06 the subsidized purchase price of tobacco fertilizers was higher than for maize, at MK1450 (US$10.4) per bag, while in 2006/07 the single price of MK950 per bag was used across all fertilizers. In addition, in 2006/07 maize seed coupons were issued permitting purchase at MK400 per 3-kilogram bag. The overall cost of the scheme, net of sales revenue, was US$51.4 million in 2005/06 and US$73.9 million in 2006/07, representing almost half of the Ministry of Agriculture’s budget in 2006/07. Donors contributed around 13 per cent of net costs in 2006/07, mainly covering seed supply, transport and logistics (Dorward et al., 2008)...

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