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Wednesday, 4 February 2009

Lifting the veil...Agriculture Budget 2009

I thought I had understood the agriculture budget allocations this year, until I saw these two FRSP resources on the budget :

It turns out that real spending on agriculture this year has actually reduced. Perhaps not surprising considering the excesses of the elections (a lot of FSP support to woo voters left us with little money) and the costly FRA imports. But, what I found most puzzling was that despite the chant for diversification there has been very little support for sectors that can achieve export diversification like cotton. There remains also the issue of agriculture focused education and training. It appears no strategy exists in this area - or am I missing something?


  1. Cho,

    Wow, great find! There is a lot of data and a lot of ambiguity here at the same time. One bit that I found both interesting and confusing was the budget breakdown, which they have separated into six parts: Personal Emoluments (10%), Recurrent Departmental Charges (13%), Agricultural Development Programs (13%), Poverty Reduction Programs (45%), Allocation to other ministries (15%), and Other MACO expenditures including capital expenditure (4%).

    Ostensibly this means that the Ministry's overhead is emoluments plus recurrent charges (23%), however examination of the recurrent charges indicates that some 30% of the amount is for fisheries, vet and agric research stations (16.4%) or agricultural training institutions (13.5%). Removing that portion from overhead brings it down to 19.1%, however fully 15% of the budget is earmarked for distribution to other ministries (setting aside for the moment why then these items are not a part of the budgets of those other ministries instead). The overhead share of the remaining 85% of the original MACO budget is therefore around 22.5%. That is before inclusion of allocations toward the overhead costs of specific program implementation (e.g. How much of the cost of delivering an agricultural development program is actually spent on bureaucracy?). The phrase "top heavy" comes to mind.

    Also interesting to me were the 2004 statistics on the very smallest of farms (.09 ha per capita both cultivated and fallow), where household income for farmers receiving FSP support were much higher than for those without (hh income for FSP users was 5,047,713, for purchasers of market fertilizer it was 4,271,062, and for those not using any fertilizer 1,439,814), however the actual amount of maize reportedly sold by each was almost identical (0.22-23 mt). The household income for the smallest farms receiving FSP fertilizer was more than 20% higher than for farms up to five times as large (whether or not they too were receiving FSP support). Resale of FSP fertilizer must be rather lucrative.

  2. Artemis & Angel Co. Ltd., in Bangkok produces two 100% organic liquid bio-fertilizers and
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  3. I recently came accross your blog and have been reading along. I thought I would leave my first comment. I dont know what to say except that I have enjoyed reading. Nice blog. I will keep visiting this blog very often.


  4. Margaret,

    Thanks for the household composting link! There are some excellent tips in there in pretty plain language. For those requiring larger (farm) scale composting efforts I recommend this rather comprehensive list available from the US National Sustainable Agriculture Information Service:


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