Nigeria uses mobile phones to fight corruption in farm subsidies

Nigeria uses mobile phones to fight corruption in farm subsidies

Nigerian farmers will soon be receiving vouchers for seeds and fertilizer on their mobile phones. Photo: <a href="http://www.flickr.com/photos/32348003@N02/5348965590/">IICD (Flickr)</a>
Nigerian farmers will soon be receiving vouchers for seeds and fertilizer on their mobile phones. Photo: IICD (Flickr)

Farmers of Nigeria, check your phones: You've got ... subsidies.

Nigeria's The Daily Trust reported this month that the Nigerian government plans to replace a decades-old system of input subsidies with electronic vouchers distributed by mobile phone. The move is part of broader reforms that will allow farmers to purchase inputs—or in other words, seeds and fertilizers—directly from suppliers.

In the past, the government has tried to control prices by purchasing and distributing subsidized fertilizer and seeds itself. But leakage and corruption meant that only 11 percent of subsidies actually reached farmers. By utilizing technology to cut out the middleman, the hope is that the new "E-Vouchers" will promote efficiency, accountability and transparency in input markets.

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