Do Public Transfers Discourage Farmer Participation in Subsistence Crop Production? Empirical evidence from Botswana

"This paper analyzes the impact of public food and cash transfers on farmer participation in Botswana’s subsistence arable agriculture. The results indicate that publicly provided social pensions and food packages (rations) reduce the probability of participation in subsistence crop farming. Engagement in paid off-farm employment, which is sometimes facilitated through a public works programme (PWP), also discourages farmer participation in the subsistence economy. Therefore, public food and cash transfers and the PWP yield work disincentive effects in Botswana’s subsistence agriculture. This is because transfers are usually consistent and regular in Botswana,impacting on household behaviour. The design of social protection policies should therefore consider such potential disincentive effects on the agricultural sector."