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APPENDIX 1: TERMS OF REFERENCE
EVALUATION OF THE CROP PACKS PROGRAMME WITH A VIEW TO DRAWING LESSONS FOR INPUT SUPPLY POLICY IN THE SMALLHOLDER AGRICULTURAL SECTOR
The smallholder farm sector received nearly Z741 million worth of free seed, fertiliser and related services under the crop packs programme during the past five production seasons. The programme was introduced during 1992/93 production season as a measure of putting smallholder farmers back into production after the 1991/92 seasons drought which resulted in devastating crop failure and livestock losses.
In so far as natural regions II and III are concerned the programme has been considerably successful as it transformed net food deficit households to net surplus positions, thus circumventing the need for massive food imports. However, the results in some districts especially under natural regions IV and V are highly questionable given that the distribution of food handouts has continued parallel to the crop packs programme even under normal seasons. On a more general note it is argued that the achievements of the whole programme were attained at uneconomical costs particularly to the taxpayers who are also suffering from the various hardships especially those originating from price escalations under the structural adjustment programme. The financial burden of the programme on government resources is reflected in the reduction of the allocations from Z$292 million for 1992/93 seasons to Z$75 million for 1996/97 season. It has become imperative that the continuation of the programme even under normal rainfall seasons has compromised private entrepreneurship in input distribution and has also made the targeting of beneficiaries particularly difficult and elusive. The political interference has become highly concentrated and very effective in influencing input allocation towards provincial equity irrespective of the agroecological disparities. The programme absorbed a significant proportion of inputs at reduced marketing costs to the suppliers causing the normal distribution network in needy areas to experience artificial shortages as the suppliers placed higher priority on meeting the requirements of the programme at the expense of private small distributors.
There are two schools of thoughts that are now emerging over the benefits of the programme. From a technical perspective, there is need to introduce fiscal cost reducing measures to the programme in favour of market based supply system perceived as more efficient in allocating resources to productive uses. Reliance on market forces to guide and regulate input distribution is believed to result in optimal use of available resources and the creation of more amenable environment that promotes rural based entrepreneurship and reliable inputs access. From political viewpoint the programme is justified as unavoidable developmental costs and means of uplifting the historically disadvantaged smallholder farmers. However, given the steeply rising input costs vis a vis the need to cut fiscal expenditure in line with the reform programme, a study is necessary to evaluate the programmes's effectiveness in meeting the set objectives and drawing lessons to guide future policy.
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2. Terms of Reference
This study seeks to:-
3. Study Approach and Timing
The study will be carried out by a team comprising two staff from the Economics and Marketing Division, two staff from the Department of Agricultural, technical and Extension services, two staff from the Zimbabwe Farmer's Union and the staff from of the University of Zimbabwe. The study will be conducted during the period of February to March 1997.
4. Expected Output
The team is expected to come up with a detailed report with appropriate recommendations.
Ministry of Agriculture
© Friedrich Ebert Stiftung | technical support | net edition fes-library | Januar 2002