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Kenya joined the ranks of sub-Saharan African countries implementing targeted input subsidy programs (ISPs) for inorganic fertilizer and improved seed in 2007/08 with the establishment of the National Accelerated Agricultural Inputs Access Program (NAAIAP). While certain features of NAAIAP were ‘smarter’ than other ISPs in the region, other features were less ‘smart’. This paper estimates the effects of NAAIAP on Kenyan smallholders’ cropping patterns, incomes, and poverty, using nationwide survey data and both panel data- and propensity score-based methods. It then compares the effects of NAAIAP to those of other ISPs in SSA, and discusses the likely links between differences in program designs (‘smartness’) and program impacts. Results suggest that despite substantial crowding out of commercial fertilizer demand, NAAIAP’s targeting of resource-poor farmers and implementation through vouchers redeemable at private agro-dealers’ shops likely contributed to its larger impacts on maize production and poverty severity compared to Malawi’s and Zambia’s ISPs.


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