Fertilisers in Nigeria

Will removing subsidies adequately tackle corruption in Nigeria’s fertiliser distribution?

Summary:

This project will examine centralised and technology-enhanced distribution modalities that have recently been introduced into fertiliser subsidy programmes in Nigeria and Tanzania - two of the largest in Africa. While the new distribution modalities are intended to reduce leakage of vouchers via local government administrations through bypassing intermediations, they present their own challenges.
In Nigeria, the technology-enabled Growth Enhancement Scheme is supposed to be further strengthened by capturing the biometrics of registered farmers through the Nigerian Agricultural Payment Initiative (NAPI). This is set to be achieved along with select agriculture extension services. The private sector is also a significant player in fertilisers in Nigeria.

The corruption issue:

Fertiliser subsidies have seen a resurgence in popularity in Africa since 2000 where supposedly “smart” voucher-based schemes have come to account for a substantial share of total public spending on agriculture.

Fertiliser subsidies have also proven attractive to politicians at multiple levels as a means of garnering support. This can lead to:

a) Fertiliser subsidy misallocation and capture: their distribution within the smallholder farming population doesn’t conform to official targeting criteria
b) Resource capture and leakages along the central-periphery distribution chain: a significant proportion of vouchers never reach the target population as they are siphoned off by politicians and officials before they get to community level.

Theory of change:

  • IF transparent local processes of beneficiary selection are combined with centralised control of fertiliser subsidy disbursement
  • THEN the efficiency of subsidy programmes can be maximised
  • BECAUSE leakages to elite groups (politicians, administrators, better off farmers) will be minimised.

Research methods:

Large-scale household surveys, Process analysis, Political economy analysis, Econometric methods, Comparative case studies across Tanzania and Nigeria

Partners: Colin Poulton, Antonio Andreoni, Pallavi Roy, Carlos Oya (SOAS); Shamsudeen Yusuf (CDD Nigeria)

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