Developing Private Sector Agro-Input Markets – Lessons Learned and Emerging Perspectives on Subsidy Programs

Developing Private Sector Agro-Input Markets – Lessons Learned and Emerging Perspectives on Subsidy Programs

 

Join us in Jinja, Uganda | February 19–23, 2018

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handing out vouchers

About the Training


BACKGROUND

In developing countries, agricultural input markets are often affected by high transaction costs, diverse risks along the supply chain and insufficient economies of scale. As a consequence, low use of agro-inputs (fertilizers, seeds and crop protection products) is one of the major constraints to increasing agricultural productivity. Thus, there are situations where agro-inputs can be productively subsidized to address agro-input market failures, but the constraints need to be carefully identified.

The use of targeted subsidies that support pro-poor growth (such as vouchers, seed fairs, fertilizer auctions, etc.) can jump-start growth in rural agricultural production. Many governments in Africa, Latin America, Central Asia and other parts of the world are currently re-examining their role in supporting farming populations by subsidizing agricultural inputs and temporarily overcoming these market failures.

Unfortunately, subsidized input programs have generally been expensive, unsuccessful and rarely equitable. Benefits often accrue to larger farmers or political patrons, or situations develop in which inputs ‘leak’ across borders to neighboring countries. In the past, input subsidy and promotion programs have essentially been direct budgetary support payments to lower the farm-gate prices of the inputs. Most programs have suffered from high and unsustainable fiscal costs, administrative inefficiencies and privilege-seeking.

For over 35 years, IFDC has been conducting research and providing training and technical assistance in all aspects of agro-input markets in the developing world. IFDC has introduced successful, market-friendly targeted subsidy programs that help develop sustainable and competitive private sector distribution systems while promoting smallholder farmers’ interests. Through voucher programs, targeted subsidies, also called ‘smart subsidies’ help farmers obtain inputs while simultaneously building business for rural agro-dealers without distorting the market. Vouchers are coupons that transfer purchasing power to targeted smallholder farmers either by reducing the input’s price below market cost or by providing liquidity as production credit, with repayment at a later stage. Farmers redeem the input vouchers through agro-dealers. In turn, the agro-dealers receive payment for redeemed vouchers and a specified margin for operating expenses and profit for the program sponsors.

Training Program Target Audience and Objectives


WHO SHOULD ATTEND

The five-day program is designed for key stakeholders involved in designing or implementing targeted agro-input subsidy interventions. These include government officials dealing with formulating and implementing agricultural input trade policies; input suppliers contributing to the distribution and accessibility of agro-inputs; development partners involved in agro-inputs project design and/or implementation; farmers’ organizations or farmers’ representatives involved in ensuring farmer participation; and representatives of donor organizations funding agricultural development and private sector projects.

TRAINING OBJECTIVES

As a result of the five-day training program, participants will be able to:

  • Improve their technical knowledge of the design and operations of smart subsidy programs.
  • Discuss the effectiveness and impact of market-friendly interventions instead of direct subsidies which tend to destabilize the market.
  • Analyze the success factors of well-designed voucher programs.
  • Explore security measures used to prevent fraud and voucher program abuse.
  • Review and apply the best practices and lessons learned from well-functioning voucher programs to their country-specific situation in order to improve agro-input accessibility for smallholder farmers.
  • Identify exit strategies to ensure the responsible involvement of the private sector in the procurement and distribution of agro-inputs.

FACULTY

The program faculty will include IFDC specialists as well as guest speakers from partner organizations.

Training Program Content and Methodology


TRAINING PROGRAM CONTENT

The program will cover various topics including, but not limited to:

  • The rationale for targeted subsidies versus traditional input subsidies.
  • Types of targeted subsidies (such as fairs, auctions and vouchers) and various successfully implemented country examples.
  • Smart subsidy program key operations:
    • Planning the design and process.
    • Identifying beneficiaries and agro-dealers.
    • Training program participants (farmers and agro-dealers).
    • Distributing vouchers.
    • Distributing agro-inputs.
    • Redeeming vouchers.
  • Role of key stakeholders (government, donors and implementing partners, suppliers, agro-dealers, farmers, etc.).
  • Banking and financing voucher programs.
  • Strengthening the input supplier channel and developing long-, medium- and short-term strategies.
  • Design and implementation stages (short-term).
  • Exit strategies (gradual withdrawal of government from the procurement and distribution processes) and creating more private sector responsibility.

METHODOLOGY

The program will showcase success stories from different countries and build on realistic examples through the use of case studies. It will include presentations and discussions on input subsidies – concepts and practices – from different contexts and various perspectives with a focus on fertilizer and seed subsidies. A field trip will be arranged to expose participants to the workings of the implementation of an agro-input subsidy intervention at the grassroots level. Participants will then put into practice what they have learned by participating in a case study that will walk the groups through a typical year from start to finish. The training will also provide an opportunity for networking among participants.

Travel and Fees


VENUE

To be determined.

Enrollment and Fees


VISAS AND MEDICAL INSURANCE

APPLICATIONS FOR VISAS SHOULD BE MADE AS EARLY AS POSSIBLE. Participants who are not eligible to enter Uganda without a visa should apply at https://visas.immigration.go.ug/ for an e-Visa or the nearest consulate or embassy of Uganda for a traditional visa. All required immunizations and health formalities should be completed. Medical insurance should be obtained by participants. The training program fee does not cover any medical insurance or expenses.

 

REGISTRATION AND PROGRAM FEE

The program fee for this training course is US $1,650 per participant (inclusive of a US $250 non-refundable deposit) and should reach IFDC no later than January 19, 2018, four (4) weeks before the program is scheduled. Those received thereafter will be accepted at IFDC’s discretion and incur a late fee. Participants will be given the opportunity to take advantage of an early bird rate if registration and payment is received by IFDC prior to December 19, 2017 . Please refer to the table below for pricing:

The program fee, less the non-refundable deposit, will be refunded for cancellations made two (2) weeks before the commencement of the program. Ninety percent of the paid fee will be returned and 10 percent, in addition to the deposit, will be charged to cover administrative costs for cancellations made between two (2) weeks and one (1) week before the commencement of the program. Cancellations made less than one (1) week before the commencement of the program will receive no refund.

Registration will be on a first-come, first-served basis. Paid participants will receive priority. An organization wishing to enroll more than one participant should supply information and payment for each participant.

Payment of the program fee can be made by: (1) check or draft payable to IFDC; (2) wire transfer to IFDC’s account in the U.S.A. through First Metro Bank, 406 West Avalon Avenue, Muscle Shoals, Alabama, U.S.A., ABA number 062203955 for credit to IFDC account number 55281; or (3) major credit card – MasterCard, Visa or American Express.

The program fee covers registration, training and reference material, coffee/tea breaks, all lunches and surface transportation on field trips. The fee does not include air travel, lodging and dinner expenses or medical and communication expenses.

PAYMENT

Payment of the program fee can be made by:

  • (1) check or draft payable to IFDC;
  • (2) wire transfer to IFDC’s account in the U.S.A. through First Metro Bank, 406 West Avalon Avenue, Muscle Shoals, Alabama, U.S.A., ABA number 062203955 for credit to IFDC account number 55281; or
  • (3) major credit card – MasterCard, Visa or American Express.

The program fee covers registration, training and reference material, coffee/tea breaks, all lunches and surface transportation on field trips. The fee does not include air travel, lodging and dinner expenses or medical and communication expenses.

About


ABOUT IFDC

IFDC is a nonprofit, public international organization (PIO) dedicated to increasing agricultural productivity and food production through the development and use of plant nutrients in sustainable crop production systems. Headquartered in Muscle Shoals, Alabama, U.S.A., IFDC is involved in human resource development, research and technical assistance in collaboration with public, private, national and international organizations throughout the world. IFDC has conducted more than 700 formal workshops, study tours and training programs for over 11,000 participants from over 150 countries since 1974. The programs have covered a wide range of subjects including integrated soil fertility management and fertilizer use efficiency, fertilizer production technology, agro-input dealership management, competitive marketing, supply chain management, investment analysis, policy reforms and numerous specialized topics.

FOR MORE INFORMATION

Director,
Training and Workshop Coordination Unit

IFDC
P.O. Box 2040 Muscle Shoals, Alabama 35662, U.S.A.
Telephone: +1 (256) 381-6600
Telefax: +1 (256) 381-7408
E-Mail: training@ifdc.org
Website: www.ifdc.org
As a nonprofit organization, IFDC does not finance or sponsor any participant.

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