Fertilizer Subsidy Costs Could Outweigh Benefits

Government programs to help farmers use more fertilizer have spread across the African continent over the last decade or so. Advocates say the subsidies are helping lift farmers out of hunger and poverty, but others say politicians are also getting a big boost.

Every year, the government of Malawi distributes coupons for subsidized fertilizer and maize seed. The program helped produce a bigger harvest for low-income farmers like Margaret Macheso in the southern district of Mulanje.

“This …

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