IFDC Report, Volume 33, No. 2
Voucher programs have emerged as effective tools to enhance smallholder farmers' access to affordable agricultural inputs while strengthening the role of rural agro-dealers. This report explores the successful implementation of voucher programs by the International Fertilizer Development Center (IFDC) in Malawi, Afghanistan, Kyrgyzstan, and Nigeria. These programs have facilitated the transfer of agricultural technologies and helped farmers purchase inputs at subsidized prices. Vouchers are seen as "smart subsidies" that supply inputs to selected farmers without disrupting the commercial market, contributing to the development of local markets and purchasing power for impoverished farmers. The report emphasizes the need for country-specific voucher programs to combat fraud and ensure that the farmers who require vouchers the most are the ones who receive them. The role of technical assistance and training is highlighted as integral components of successful voucher programs. Agro-dealers are trained to introduce new technologies and educate farmers on the correct use of inputs, leading to increased productivity and improved livelihoods for smallholder farmers. The publication also presents IFDC's experience implementing voucher programs in Nigeria, where the government subsidizes fertilizer. The challenges smallholder farmers face in accessing subsidized fertilizer and the limited availability of the product are discussed. To address these issues, IFDC is working with the government to implement a voucher program that targets small farmers and provides improved access to subsidized fertilizer. The Agro-Dealer Network Development (AND) project also aims to train agro-dealers in product knowledge, input safety, business management, and new input technologies. The report concludes by highlighting the positive outcomes of voucher programs, such as increased access to inputs, improved market participation of farmers, and poverty alleviation. It also mentions IFDC's successful implementation of voucher programs in other countries, such as Afghanistan and Malawi, which have led to infrastructure development, improved market access, and reduced hunger periods for participating households. Finally, it emphasizes the importance of voucher programs in supporting smallholder farmers during soaring fertilizer prices and the need for research to increase fertilizer efficiency.
Use efficiency, Business enterprises, Fertilizers