The Effectiveness of E-Voucher on Agriculture in Zambia. The Case of Kafue

Project Report, 2018

28 Pages, Grade: 2,0(B)



1.3.1 General Objective
1.3.2 Specific Objectives


3.2.1 Target Groups
3.2.2 Sampling Technique
3.2.3 Research Methods
3.2.4 Data Collection Tools

4.1.1 Introduction
4.1.2 Socio-demographic Background
4.1.3 Operation of the E-voucher System
4.1.4 Accessibility of Farming Inputs Under E-voucher
4.1.5 Selection Criteria for Beneficiary Farmers and Agro-dealers
4.2.1 To investigate whether the E-voucher system has improved smallholder farmers’ access to a variety of farming inputs
4.2.2 To establish the involvement of the private sector through the E-voucher system in the distribution of farming inputs to smallholder farmers








We are grateful to God Almighty for giving us purpose to all that we have done. Without him we would not have achieved much. We can only give Him thanks for being our strength in times when we felt like we could not make it.

We also express our appreciation to Mr. Kakandelwa our supervisor, and Dr. Mwale our course coordinator for the continuous support rendered to us during the evaluation process.

We further extend our gratitude to the staff and members from the Ministry of Agriculture and Livestock for according us with an opportunity to conduct our project with them.


This report is based on an evaluation study aimed at evaluating the effectiveness of the e-voucher on agriculture in Zambia, conducted in Mungu village, Kafue.

The projects goal is to reduce the number of street children on the streets which is done by providing counselling sessions, sensitization and free basic education for the children. This evaluation adopted the Utilization-Focused Approach to Evaluation developed by Michael Quinn Patton. The evaluation design used cross sectional non-experimental. The study used a semi-structured interview schedule guided by a self-administered questionnaire with both closed and open-ended questions in order to collect both quantitative and qualitative data. Forty individuals participated in the survey; which included members of staff, beneficiaries, parents and guardians of the beneficiaries who were randomly selected using purposive sampling. The implementation is well in the sense that 92 percent of the intended beneficiaries are receiving services which satisfy them. Sixty-four percent of beneficiaries were willing to be reunified with their families. Furthermore, between 2015 and mid-2017, 520 have been reintegrated with their families. For the programmes to be fully implemented, school management should recruit more teachers to reduce the teacher pupil ratio to ensure quality service delivery, the organization should continue to explore local level advocacy opportunities for accessing funds for infrastructure improvement and construction of additional class room blocks, office space and dormitories, and must include professional orientation to develop and strengthen the children’s professional aspirations.



Agriculture is a very important sector in every economy especially those of developing countries as it provides raw materials to secondary industries as while as ensuring national food security. Increased agricultural productivity is crucial to increase household and national food security and this reduces vulnerability among the households. Many African countries including Kenya, Malawi, Tanzania, Zambia, and Zimbabwe pursued large scale subsidy programs from the 1960s up to the late 1980s. These programs were characterized by government controlling the input and output of market systems (Dorward, 2009). These programs succeeded in many aspects but were too expensive and mostly benefitted well off farmers and advances in agriculture were only there as long as this support continued (Baful, 2010). When markets were liberalized, the programs were put to a stop hence agriculture production greatly reduced. This saw the introduction of new farmer support programs in these countries, Zambia inclusive.

In 2002 the government of the republic of Zambia introduced the Farmers Input Support Program (FISP), this program entailed the government through the Ministry of Agriculture and Livestock to heavily subsidized inputs. The program targeted small scale farmers and consumed a larger part of the resources allocated to the Ministry of Agriculture and Livestock. However, it was observed that the program was failing due to a number of reasons some of which are; the targeted population not being met as well as late distribution of farming inputs which had resulted in farmers delaying to plant. It is this failure that saw the introduction of the e-voucher mode of accessing inputs in 2012. It is therefore, against this background that the study focused on investigating the effectiveness of E-voucher system on agriculture in Zambia.


Since 2002, the government of Zambia had been funding the FISP that consumed a very large part of resources allocated to the Ministry of Agriculture and Livestock (MOAL). The Farmers Input Support Program (FISP) was set up to help vulnerable small-scale farmers improve their productivity and graduate into commercial farmers and be weaned off the program after two years. However, it was realized that the FISP had not helped to improve small-scale farmers` productivity and be weaned off the program (GRZ; 2006; MACO; 2009).

According to the study conducted by IAPRI (2012) to assess the effectiveness of FISP, it showed that FISP was plagued by a number of issues that limited its effectiveness hence failed to achieve its objectives. These issues include the following; firstly the distribution of inputs to farmers was frequently delayed thus delayed planting for farmers, the distribution of standardized inputs that were not appropriate for soil types and lastly FISP faced issues of poor targeting of intended beneficiaries (ACP, 2009).

In trying to bridge this gap, the government of the Republic of Zambia under MoAL came up with the E-voucher system which aims to improve the distribution of subsidized inputs to small holder farmers. Apart from improving beneficiary target and providing timely access to inputs, the E-voucher system also aims at encouraging private sector participation by allowing farmers to purchase a wide range of recommended inputs. However, little was known about the effectiveness of E-voucher system on Agriculture in Zambia. It is for this reason that this study was focused on investigating the effectiveness of E-voucher system on Agriculture in Zambia, Kafue being our case study.


1.3.1 General Objective

- To investigate the effectiveness of E-voucher system on agriculture in Zambia.

1.3.2 Specific Objectives

- To investigate whether the E-voucher system has improved small holder farmers’ access to a variety of farming inputs in Kafue.
- To establish the involvement of the private sector through the E-voucher system in the distribution of farming inputs to smallholder farmers in Kafue.


- Do small holder farmers in Kafue have access to a variety of inputs through the E-voucher system?
- To what extent is the private sector through the E-voucher system involved in the distribution of farming inputs in Kafue?


This study was important because it highlights the level of effectiveness of the E-voucher system on agriculture in Zambia. It shows whether there are more loop holes or not in the FISP. The study also shows whether or not the E-voucher system introduction in accessing farmer inputs is the best solution for the government to achieve maximum effectiveness in the FISP. The results obtained from this study are an excellent choice for comparative studies with other areas in Zambia or within Africa. The results obtained from this study can also be used as a basis for policy formulation. The study was also important because it is a partial fulfillment for the undergraduate program at the University of Zambia.


Before any types of interviews or discussions were held with the respondents, informed consent was sought. In this study, information was given to our participants about our research so as to ensure they were able to make informed choices. We also ensured that every participant participated in the study voluntarily.

Anonymity and confidentiality of the participants during and after the research was respected. No name of any of the respondents was publicized.


Most African countries since the 1960s have pursued subsidy programs in which farmers are supplied with agricultural inputs at controlled subsidized prices and often on heavily subsidised credit. These subsidy programs are ever evolving towards development with the latest improvement in most countries being the introduction of E-voucher.

Many studies have been conducted on these subsidy programs for instance, the Agriculture Input Support Program (AISP) in Malawi which was initiated in the 2005/2006 farming season and has built a long tradition of subsidizing agricultural inputs. The Farmers Input Support Program (FISP) ideas in Zambia started in 2001. Studies carried out by Baltzer and Hansen(2012) show that only 30% of smallholder farmers had access to hybrid seeds and only 20% had access to fertilizers which is a clear indication that the FISP program was not effective for only a small population of the small holder farmers was been reached. The FISP was launched in Zambia in the 2002/2003 farming season but the E-voucher system of accessing farming inputs was only introduced in the 2014/2015 farming season however, no study had been carried out on the effectiveness of the system in Zambia, particularly in Kafue district hence this study was conducted in Kafue. The FISP program was also implemented in Tanzania in 2009 as National Agriculture Input Voucher System (NAIVS). West African countries have not been left out an example being the Ghana Fertilizer Subsidy Programme (GFSP) introduced in Ghana in 2008.

The AISP was like FISP where as NAIVS and GFSP are based on a voucher system just like the E-voucher system in Zambia. In Malawi, selected households receive two coupons each of which can be redeemed for a bag of maize seed, tobacco fertilizer or maize fertilizer. Coupons are printed centrally and distributed at the district level. The official criteria of selecting beneficiaries is not very precise, but it is mainly stipulated that beneficiaries should own big pieces of land that are cultivated during relevant season and priority is given to vulnerable groups such as the female headed house hold and this is also the selection criteria for E-voucher beneficiary farmers in Zambia .However, according to Chibwana (2010),a study conducted in Malawi showed that more vulnerable and female headed households are less likely to receive vouchers as opposed to long term residents of villages that are more likely to be selected resulting in the not meeting its set out objectives. Dorward et al. (2008) also found that coupons were disproportionately allocated to households that are headed by males and had more assets hence not meeting its intended target or set out objectives resulting in the AISP not been effective, the same happened in Zambia during the FISP hence the introduction of the E-voucher system. Baltzer and Hansen, (2011) after an evaluation study in Malawi found that the AISP with the use of vouchers has a larger positive effect on agriculture productivity and output, but the program is very costly, it largely fails to target vulnerable holders and it has a questionable sustainability.

Unlike in Malawi, despite also working on the voucher system, in Ghana the introduction of the GFSP was different. It was never meant to be for sustainable agricultural growth but it was meant to be an emergency measure meant to mitigate the impact of the extremely high fertilizer prices in 2008.

Food and Agriculture Organization statistics show that, in 2008 maize and rice that were produced had increased by 21% and 10% and 58% and 30% in 2009 respectively. These statistics were also affected by other factors such as weather, but they do indicate a successful avoidance of a decline in rice and maize production. It is evident that this can be attributed to the GFSP, only the extent cannot be established, (Dorward et al, 2008).

The GFSP is one of the most liberal fertilizer support programs in Africa. It extensively uses the existing private sector for input supply, distribution and retailing. The vouchers are used as part payment for fertilizers at any retailer who would accept them. These are then passed up through the value chain to importers who then redeem the vouchers with the government (ibid). Banful (2010) elaborates the GFSP as an attempt of the Ghanaian government to show that they had empathy for the rural population Banful and Krausova (2010), argue that in as much as the private sector is involved; only fertilizer importers are able to redeem these vouchers for money with the government. In effect, only a small number of importers act as gate keepers controlling the flow of fertilizers from the world market to Ghana, as well as the flow of subsidies to farmers which gave considerable market power to importers. In consequence of this bias was less than 40% of all retailers accepted vouchers from farmers because they were unable to redeem vouchers with their suppliers or because it was too expensive or too difficult to do so with importers.

The NAIVS like the GFSP has its supply, retail and distribution largely undertaken by the private sector actors. Farmers turn in vouchers for a rebate at specified agro dealers, who can redeem the voucher directly with the NMB.

Private sector involvement in FISP is limited. In the FISP the supply and distribution of subsidized inputs was centralized before the introduction of the E-voucher. Dorward et al (2010) found that one of the main difficulties related to the delivery of the subsidized inputs was serious delays in the arrival. Guidelines state that inputs should be delivered to farmers by the end of October so that they can be used by the beginning of the farming season but this has not always been the case. World Bank (2008) survey of beneficiaries indicates that less than 4% of inputs were distributed by the end of October and 69% received inputs when the farming season had already began.

The FISP encourages private sector involvement via open tenders; the contracts are never awarded new or potential entrants with the justification that such new players lack the capacity to ensure timely delivery of inputs, (ibid). If the FISP only accommodates old private sector players and leaves out the new players, it is less likely to improve the private sector that will aid the delivery of inputs to the farmers.

The FISP has a positive effect on the agriculture production in Zambia however maintenance costs are too high for the government. The program has been profitable from a national perspective, (World Bank, 2010). Though there are quite a number of costs that have not been accounted for, such as applying fertilizers which is labor intensive hence the need to improve it. Therefore, this study aimed to investigate whether the identified gaps in the FISP have been closed up by the E-voucher system or not.


- Language barrier
- Because of its recent introduction, there haven’t been many studies conducted in Zambia related to the E-voucher system.
- A long distance was incurred from Lusaka to Mungu village of Kafue district.


This study was conducted in Kafue. Kafue is a town of Lusaka province in Zambia; it lies on the north bank of the Kafue River and occupies a shelf of land between mountains and the river. According to the Zambia census of population and housing (2010), Kafue has a total population of 219,000 of which 108,939 are males and 110,061 are females. Agriculture and fishing are the main traditional occupations of the population. This site was chosen for our study because Kafue is one of the areas that were recently included to the target groups for the E-Voucher system therefore no study had been conducted on the E-Voucher system in Kafue. According to the Electronic Voucher Implementation Manual (2016) Kafue has 15,373 small scale farmers benefiting from the E-voucher program. The study was conducted in Mungu village of Kafue district.


The research was qualitative in nature as it involved the collection of non-numerical data. Both sources of data, which are primary and secondary, were collected. For Secondary data we relied on published research findings of previous related studies such as books, journals, newspaper articles and also other reliable documents relating to the research topic. Secondary data was important for this study because it showed whether the study had already been conducted or not and also what had been done about the study. The main source of secondary data for this study was the ministry of Agriculture and the Internet.

Primary data was important for this study because it was first-hand information as it came directly from the respondents on the ground. The whole research was based on these two types of data. Primary data was collected from selected cooperatives of small scale farmers, agro-dealers and staff from the Ministry of Agriculture and Livestock.

3.2.1 Target Groups

Target Group A

Our first target group were the small scale farmers of Kafue, this target group was important because these farmers were members of cooperatives in the community who take part in farming activities and hence provided the much needed information for the research. This target group comprised of sixteen (16) small holder farmers, eight males and eight females from Mungu Village of Kafue to ensure gender representation and reduce biases in responses. This was the major target group that provided the larger portion of information for this research.

Target group B

This target group comprised of four (4) key informants who are staff from the Ministry of Agriculture.

Target Group C

This target group comprised of 5 key informants who are agro-dealers who supply farming inputs to small scale farmers registered with the E-voucher system in Kafue.

3.2.2 Sampling Technique

This study used purposive sampling technique to reach our targeted sample size of sixteen (16) smallholder farmers; these farmers were included in the focus group discussions. The smallholder farmers were selected with the help of the extension officers. Purposive sampling technique was used because it was the most appropriate technique in the sense that it allowed us to select small holder farmers that were relevant to our study, thus this technique ensured that we did not waste time and resources screening all the farmers.

Purposive sampling technique was used for primary data collection when identifying the key informants from MoA and agro dealers to participate in the semi-structured interviews. Key informants were purposively selected due to their stakeholder status and knowledge about the local community and other matters of interest to the study. We felt this was appropriate due to time and resources we had available .These were therefore important for provision and acquisition of the needed information. Therefore, respondents of the study were drawn from Mungu village within Kafue.

3.2.3 Research Methods

Two focus group discussions of small scale farmers comprising eight males and eight females were conducted. The first focus group discussion had eight females only and the second focus group discussion had eight males. Focus group discussions were essential to this study because of the qualitative nature of the study. The focus group discussion helped us specifically to get information from the smallholder farmers directly. Although the focus group discussion did not provide a platform for all individuals to express themselves freely in that other participants might have just supported ideas held by the whole group instead of their individual ideas or views. However, the focus group discussion allowed us to get views not influenced by us the researchers. These discussions helped open up debate from the views of the farmers and helped us save time rather than interviewing every farmer individually Semi-structured interviews were conducted with five agro-dealers and four key informants (staff) from the Ministry of Agriculture and Livestock .Semi-structured interviews were used to acquire in-depth information from the respondents not influenced by other respondents unlike grouping them together in a focus group discussion.

Through these focus group discussions and semi-structured interviews many views about our study were given by the farmers as well as agro-dealers and key informants from the Ministry of Agriculture and Livestock and it were these views that we the researchers analyzed and drew a conclusion on the effectiveness of E-voucher on agriculture in Kafue.

3.2.4 Data Collection Tools

Interview Guide

The study used the semi-structured type of interviews for the agro-dealers and the key informants from the Ministry of Agriculture and Livestock where a list of questions or interview guide was prepared in advance. The interest for the interview guides was to collect comprehensive, systematic and in-depth information about the effectiveness of E-voucher in helping vulnerable small scale farmers and agriculture development in Kafue.


Data collected in this study was analyzed manually. Qualitative information that was collected has been expressed in narrative form, words and phrases. Predictive analysis was incorporated in which current and historical facts of the data were used to predict the effectiveness of the E-voucher system in the future or in present moments. Thematic analysis approach was used and helped us to organize and start the analysis by taking the data and displaying it in terms of sub themes within the matrix for each case.

After all the data was analyzed accordingly, it was explained through the given facilities for analysis of which the research was drawn to conclude the extent to which the E-Voucher has been effective.


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The Effectiveness of E-Voucher on Agriculture in Zambia. The Case of Kafue
University of Zambia  (UNZA)
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Co-authors: Choolwe Linda, Imboela Namatama, Mweene Garcious, Mwiinga Moonze
mwiinga moonze
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Boyd Chishimba et al. (Author), 2018, The Effectiveness of E-Voucher on Agriculture in Zambia. The Case of Kafue, Munich, GRIN Verlag,


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