Farm input subsidy programmes (FISPs): A benefit for, or the betrayal of, SADC’s small-scale farmers?
This paper (PDF) by the African Centre for Biodiversity (ACBIO) reviews the farm input subsidy programmes (FISPs) within countries belonging to the Southern Africa Development Community (SADC), to ascertain whether input subsidies have benefited small-scale farmers, have increased food security at the household and national levels, and have improved the incomes of small-scale farmers. It does this by exploring the re-adoption of input subsidies in countries belonging to SADC, describing theprogramme designs, providing an analysis of the respective in-country effects, and providing an overarching review of input subsidy programmes within SADC countries. According to the authors the Green Revolution has been a dismal failure in Africa: the sheer size of the region, its diversity of agroecological zones and deep history of traditional farming practices, the depth of rural poverty and development challenges, and the lack of domestic markets mitigate attempts to provide a unitary solution
to a complex challenge. They conclude with that it appears that subsidies are relegating farmers to welfare recipients as it make them passive receivers of technical advice, beneficiaries of public sector subsidized inputs and price takers in local markets. The authors state that urgent transformative action is required, now, to bring about the sustainable food systems of the future.