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Effects of Input Subsidies on Subsistence Crop Acreage Diversity in Botswana
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We investigate the patterns and determinants of subsistence acreage diversity in Botswana for the period 1978/79-2013/14, focusing on the role of input subsidies. Results suggest that acreage diversity declined during 1978/79 - 1987/88, due to increasin

Research Group
 

Date
  12th June 2018

Author
  Tebogo B. Seleka and David Mmopelwa

Keywords
  Botswana, Agricultural input subsidies, crop diversification, subsistence economy, climate

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We investigate the patterns and determinants of subsistence acreage diversity in Botswana for the period 1978/79-2013/14, focusing on the role of input subsidies. Results suggest that acreage diversity declined during 1978/79 - 1987/88, due to increasing concentration on the dominant crop of sorghum. However, acreage diversity rose during 1987/88 - 2006/07, owing to falling concentration on sorghum production. Acreage diversity then fell again during 2006/07 - 2013/14 because of increasing concentration on maize,
which had by then become a dominant crop. We found increased rainfall in the current year to yield a decline in acreage diversity in the current year, as farmers increased maize (a riskier crop climate-wise) acreage share, and reduced beans/pulses (a less risky crop) acreage shares. However, increased rainfall in the current year causes risk-averse farmers to reduce sorghum (a drought tolerant crop) acreage share and to increase maize, beans/pulses and groundnuts acreage shares in a subsequent year. Trend variable coefficients reveal increased acreage diversity over time, which may have been induced by extension messages and programs meant to promote crop diversity away from traditional staple cereals into non-cereal crops. The ISPAAD input subsidy program has yielded reduced acreage diversity, due to its negative impact on maize and beans/pulses acreage shares. Such unintended effects imply that ISPAAD has conflicted with the national objective of promoting agricultural diversification.


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