THERE is need to review the operations of the Electronic Farmer Input Support Programme (E-FISP), says Indaba Agricultural Policy Research Initiative executive director Chance Kabaghe. In his remarks in the first quarter electronic Bulletin, Kabaghe said if implemented properly, the E-FISP would lead to effective and sustained transformation of the agriculture industry.
“We need to review the operations of the E-FISP regularly and strive to phase it out at an appropriate time,” Kabaghe said.
He, however, noted that the e-voucher was not the panacea of all the problems in the agriculture sector.
Kabaghe said the evidence of what could achieve sustainable economic transformation through agriculture does not put subsidies on top of the agenda.
“The following is what the evidence suggests: Countries in which structural transformation occurred, experienced dramatic increases in productivity, which were made from considerable investments in Research and Development, through country-specific technologies research. Related to the point above, is a fact that productivity was achieved through higher yields while land under cultivation remained relatively the same,” he said.
“This was achieved through the use of programmes targeted at using modern farming techniques, that is, mechanisation, extensive appropriate fertiliser use, and improved seed varieties. This was coupled with appropriate and adequate extension systems. Agricultural commercialisation was essential. Commercialisation of crops and livestock, and value addition for the diversification of the agricultural sector was critical.”
Kabaghe added that the development of commodity exchanges and open border policies were key ingredients in the accelerated agricultural
He further noted that countries that achieved agricultural transformation made their plans very explicit.
“There were strong institutions in each country that pursued a transparent path to agricultural transformation. This was only achieved by providing a conducive environment for the private sector, backed by strong political will on the part of government. Related to the above, the evidence suggests strongly that countries that succeeded involved the private sector in a transparent and predictable manner,” Kabaghe said.
“Please note that in spite of the afore-mentioned, the objectives of E-FISP are still valid and its implementation needs to be done smoothly but we have to remember it is still a subsidy and addressing the bigger issues as mentioned above needs to occur for successful economic transformation through agriculture. We need to review the operations of the EFISP regularly and strive to phase it out at an appropriate time.”.