Notes to broadcasters on fertilizer subsidies:

    | October 5, 2009

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    In last week’s FRW, we looked at how fertilizer subsidies have helped to dramatically improve Malawi’s food security situation, and how Malawi’s example has inspired several other African nations to consider fertilizer subsidies. However, as we saw in this week’s story, individual subsidy programs have been criticized on many fronts.

    If your government operates a fertilizer subsidy program, you may wish to research a news story on the impact it has had on local farmers. Here are some questions to consider:

    -How does the subsidy program work? For example, what is the mechanism used to allow farmers to purchase fertilizer at a subsidized rate?
    -Who is eligible to receive the fertilizer subsidy? Are any farmers excluded from the program, either intentionally, for political reasons, or because some other problem impedes their access? Do men and women have equal access? Is subsidized fertilizer available to farmers without secure land tenure?
    -Was enough subsidized fertilizer available to meet the needs of local farmers?
    -Did access to subsidized fertilizer result in better yields for local farmers? What other factors affected yields this year?