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Targeting in the Farm Input Subsidy Programme in Malawi: Issues and Options

Future Agricultures Consortium
Publication Date
  • Department Of Financial And Management Studies
  • Centre For Development
  • Environment And Policy (Cedep)
  • Ecology
  • Economics
  • Geography


This paper examines targeting issues that emerge from FISP evaluations undertaken since 2006/07, and puts forward various options for improving targeting. Targeting objectives depend upon programme objectives. In the FISP targeting occurs at area and beneficiary levels – the former targeting subsidies to different zones or districts, the latter targeting beneficiaries within already targeted areas. Targeting is important because it affects achievement of programme objectives through its impacts on displacement (the extent to which purchases of subsidised inputs replace purchases of unsubsidised inputs that farmers would have bought anyway without the subsidy), productivity of input use, the direct benefits to beneficiaries, and wider economic, social and environmental benefits. Achievement of these benefits is generally supported by pro-poor targeting (with lower displacement and stronger growth linkages) but the effects of pro-poor targeting on the productivity of input use are not known and are an important (but difficult) field of further research. Relations of targeting with area and beneficiary graduation and with environmental benefits are complex, and also require further research.

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