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Table 1 Policy regimes and development programmes in agricultural input systems and markets over the indicated periods.

From: A critical review of rural development policy of Ethiopia: access, utilization and coverage

Period Intervention phases Objectives of intervention Implementers and loopholes
1957–1967 First and second 5-year development plans Develop large-scale commercial farms and coffee exports Subsistence farming was neglected
1968–1973 Third 5-year development plan (comprehensive integrated package projects) Transport infrastructure development; dissemination of high-input technologies, credit, and extension; formation of cooperative societies Implementation on three comprehensive extension programs that focused on high-potential areas only
1971–1979 Minimum Package Program I (MPP-I) Expand geographical coverage of the comprehensive extension programs; provide fertilizer, credit, and extension to “minimum package areas” Fertilizer procurement managed by agricultural and industrial development bank, distribution managed by ministry of agriculture
1978 Agricultural Marketing Corporation (AMC) Improve management of agricultural input importation, storage, and transport by handing over control of these tasks to the AMC MoA maintains role of distributing fertilizer to farmers, disbursing credit, and estimating fertilizer demand through approx 18,000 peasant associations
1980–1985 Minimum Package Program II (MPP-II) Expand input supply and extension service coverage threefold Actual provision of inputs and extension was limited due to: lacking financial support for MPP-II; increasing inefficiency in MoA and AMC; fertilizer overstocking due to inaccurate demand estimates; and poor institutional coordination of input deliveries
1984 Agricultural Input Supply Corporation (AISCO) Improve the importation and distribution of fertilizer and marketing of other agricultural inputs As a successor to AMC, AISCO was limited by lengthy bureaucratic process needed to secure foreign exchange, high freight costs, and lack of proper port facilities, high inland transport costs, inaccurate demand estimates, and organizational inefficiency
1986–1995 Peasant Agricultural Development Program (PADEP) Provide inputs, credit, and extension services to smallholders organized into approximately 2900 farmer service cooperatives (SC) using a training-and-visit (T&V) extension approach As a successor to MPP-II, PADEP aimed to cover eight development zones across the country, but only received financing sufficient for three zones, all located in high-potential areas
1991–1995 Partial liberalization of the fertilizer market Open the importation, wholesaling, and retailing of fertilizers to private companies Undertaken by the Transitional Government of Ethiopia (TGE). Fertilizer prices remained pan-territorial and subsidized
1993–1999 Participatory Demonstration and Training Extension System (PADETES) Promote improved seed-fertilizer-credit packages (primarily for maize and wheat) through a “training-and-visit” approach piloted by Sasakawa Global 2000 PADETES demonstrated on a pilot basis that yields could be doubled with the application of modern inputs in Ethiopia
1995-present National Agricultural Extension Intervention Program (NAEIP) Scale up the PADETES approach to the national level as a means of boosting cereal yields and output Efforts to scale up the PADETES approach were less successful than the piloting demonstrated by Sasakawa Global 2000
1997–1998 Fertilizer price liberalization Eliminate subsidies and deregulate the price of fertilizer at the wholesale and retail levels Liberal prices have not resulted in competitive market due to the government’s continued control over marketing and credit
2000–2007 Shifting industry structure Private companies withdrawn from the fertilizer market in 2000, succeeded by “holding” companies; cooperative unions entered the market in 2005, followed by the withdrawal of “holding” companies” in 2007 The Agricultural Input Supply Enterprise (AISE) and cooperative unions emerged as the only actors engaged in fertilizer importation and are also the largest players in the wholesale and retail markets, in conjunction with the regional input supply and extension systems