Effects of Subsidized inputs on legume production in Zambia

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Zulu, Peter
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One of the major causes of low crop yield in smallholder farming systems in Zambia is poor soil nutrients. In order to address this problem, the Government of the Republic of Zambia (GRZ) introduced an input subsidy program aimed at making inorganic fertilizers and improved maize seed cheaply available to the target households. However, these interventions are targeted at maize only, to the exclusion of all other crops. There is thus a general concern that the subsidy program could be negatively affecting the production of other crops including legumes (Mason et. al., 2013). This study seeks to empirically investigate the effect that the government sponsored maize input subsidy program is having on the production of legumes. This study uses panel data from a three-wave national representative survey, conducted by the Central Statistical Office (CSO) for the 1999/2000, 2002/03 and 2006/07 agricultural seasons. The three waves followed the same households that had been interviewed in the 1999/2000 post harvest survey. The study employs Cragg’s double hurdle (DH) model. Our results show that there is a general decline in the area allocated to legumes production among smallholder farm households since the introduction of maize subsidies. However, the econometric results show input subsidies do not significantly affect the production of legumes among smallholder farm households. On the other hand, factors like land holding size, access to market information, livestock ownership, maize prices and prices of related agricultural goods were found to significantly affect the production of legumes. These results imply that to enhance legume production among the smallholder farm households in Zambia, stakeholders should move their focus away from the input subsidy program to factors like improvement in land tenure and market information dissemination among other strategies.
Subsidies , Subsidies-Zambia