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Vol 54 No 17

Published 23rd August 2013


How to grow crops and influence voters

The World Bank and others are backing a farm subsidy scheme that keeps the governing party in power and boosts big commodity traders

The donor-funded subsidy programme for smallholder agriculture is coming under increasing criticism for being poorly targeted, discriminating against the private sector and being used to encourage voting for the governing Chama Cha Mapinduzi. A growing body of research reveals that the Agricultural Sector Development Programme (ASDP) and its farm subsidies produce transitory increases in productivity and reach CCM-connected farmers more than the poorest. There is also evidence that middlemen and monopolistic businesses have profited improperly from manipulating agricultural markets as well as the subsidies themselves. Despite major qualms about the programmes behind closed doors, strong support from the World Bank continues.

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