Effects of Input Subsidies on Subsistence Crop Acreage Diversity in Botswana
This paper examines the patterns and determinants of crop acreage diversity in Botswana’s subsistence economy for the period 1978/79-2013/14. Primarily, the paper is geared at determining whether Botswana’s input subsidy programs (ARAP and ISPAAD) have played a role towards promoting crop diversification, or whether they have instead promoted crop concentration. These programs are unique in that, in addition to providing seasonal inputs (fertilizers and improved seeds), they have also provided ploughing/planting grants, further yielding expanded land cultivation. Therefore, it is possible that they could have yielded different impacts than what has been generally observed elsewhere on the African continent. The paper adds to the scarce literature on the link between input subsidies and crop diversification in the developing world. The rest of the paper is organized as follows. We first provide a brief background on public policy on economic diversification in general and agricultural diversification in particular, together with the emerging research issue. We then present the empirical strategy for examining the patterns and determinants of crop acreage diversity in Botswana’s subsistence economy. Next, we discuss the data used to estimate the respective models. This is followed by a discussion of the empirical results. Lastly, we provide concluding remarks and draw policy implications.