How Can African Governments Reach Poor Farmers with Fertiliser Subsidies? Exploring a Targeting Approach in Ghana uri icon

abstract

  • African governments have been pursuing reforms to improve the targeting of fertiliser subsidy programmes, but recent experience suggests that these reforms have not ensured that subsidies reach intended beneficiaries. Using a targeting approach based on proxy means tests with carefully selected indicators, this paper suggests that Ghana's fertiliser subsidy programmes can be targeted to the country's poor and smallholder farmers more efficiently and more cost-effectively. While a universal subsidy in 2012 is estimated to have reached 11 per cent of poor farmers, the proposed targeting approach would have reached 70 per cent of the poor farmers in northern Ghana and 50 per cent of poor farmers in southern Ghana. Targeting reduces the costs of leakages by about 72 per cent, thus justifying the costs of administering targeted programmes using the poverty proxies. Furthermore, we show that once the initial models are constructed, the targeting approach can be used for nearly 20 years without any significant losses in accuracy. We propose that policy-makers should consider implementing this targeting approach on a pilot scale involving a few communities and, if found successful in practice, in a larger-scale programme.

publication date

  • 2019
  • 2019