Impact of Structural Adjustment Program on Maize Production in Northern Province of Zambia: An Econometric Study

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Abstract

Structural Adjustment Programme (SAP) was adopted by the Government of Zambia as a measure to strengthen the economy and service debt. Maize is the main staple food of Zambia's urban population. Maize subsidies comprised of fertiliser, credit and consumer price subsidies. Withdrawal of the fertiliser subsidy was a major component of the adjustment programme. To asses the impact of SAP on maize production, a study was conducted in two districts of Northern Province (Kasama and Impika districts). Impact of SAP on peasants welfare and the environment focusing on maize production was emphasised. Linear and non-linear regression models and profit functions (based on quadratic and Cobb-Douglas production forms) have been used to study the objectives. During the pre-adjustment period, maize production was encouraged by fertiliser subsidies. However, profitability from production has declined during the post-adjustment
period by the effect of removal of fertiliser subsidies. Continuous use of fertiliser, without sustainable soil management practices, has on the other hand caused soil acidity. Comparing the pre- and post- adjustment periods, fertiliser use by the farmers has decreased in the post- adjustment period. This is due to lack of access to credit and decline in farm income. Female headed households were found to be using less fertiliser than male headed households in the post- adjustment period. Goals and preferences may also be gender specific. There is no clear evidence for impact of the adjustment programme on the technical efficiency dimension of maize production. The removal of subsidies on fertiliser has resulted in more efficient resource allocation of fertiliser. As a result of the SAP, farmers have shifted towards other crops, which are more profitable
than maize, and increased animal husbandry. A common belief has also been in the region that fall in maize production has expanded chitemene shifting cultivation which can cause deforestation. My findings support the diversification of crop production and development of livestock sector which have been emphasised by the new agricultural policy in Zambia.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationNorwegian Association for Development Research Annual Conference 1997
Subtitle of host publicationIn: Haug, R (edited) People, Food and the Environment 200 Years after Malthus, Conference Report
EditorsRuth Haug
Place of PublicationÅs, Norway
PublisherAgricultural University of Norway
Pages111-135
Number of pages25
Publication statusPublished - 12 Jun 1997

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