Tackling the Farmer-to-Market-Linkage Problem for Small-Scale-Farmers in Sub-Saharan Africa

Creation of a Farmer-to-Market Linkage Model with Zambia as Exemplifying Area

Master's Thesis, 2011

89 Pages, Grade: A



List of Figures

Table of Abbreviations

Executive Summary

1.0. Introduction

2.0. Literature Review

3.0. Methodology
3.1. SecondaryData
3.2. Primary Data

4.0. Introduction to the Area under Study
4.1. Introduction to Zambia
4.2. Introduction Western Province/Mongu District

5.0. Market-Linkage Pre-Conditions
5.1. Agro-Ecological Preconditions
5.1.1. Region I-Southern Parts ofWestern Province
5.1.2. Region IIb - Zambezi Flood Plains Western Province
5.2. Physical Input Preconditions
5.3. Intellectual Preconditions
5.4. Informational Preconditions
5.4.1. MarketInformation

6.0. Markets
6.1. Schools
6.2. Healthcare Centers
6.3. CateringSector
6.4. Supermarkets

7.0. Market Linkage Model

8.0. Discussion and Incitation

9.0. Conclusion
9.1. Limitations and Suggestions

10.0. References

11.0. Appendix


I would like to express sincere thanks to Bernd Klippert of NAK Karitativ and Crispin Sanjase of Henwood Foundation for giving me the opportunity to work on such an interesting and meaningful project as part of my thesis and for their continuous support I received throughout the project time. I would like to thank Prof. Lutz Schlange from HTW Chur for the friendly guidance and inputs I received during our phone calls. I would like to recognize Presley Sisupo from Henwood Foundation for his great assistance on-site, his translation from Lozi to English, the transportation to different interview locations and the additional interview notes he took. My thank goes to Mr. Petzold from NAK Karitativ for his input and participation in this thesis, which provided me with support and encouragement. I would like to thank Dr. Stephen Muliokela for his expertise, the helpful documents he provided for this thesis as well as his friendly and welcoming support whenever there was a question. Last but not least, I would like to thank the entire Henwood staff for giving me a joyful and productive stay in Zambia.

List of Tables

Table 1: Percentage Distribution of Household Heads, by educational level completed and Province 2002/2003

Table 2: Population of Major Cities

Table 3: Livestock Distribution Western Province and Number of Vaccinated Cattle

Table 4: Livestock Prices Mongu District

Table 5: Chicken Prices Mongu and Kalabo District

Table 6: Rice Buying Prices Mongu 2010

Table 7: Inventory ofAgriculturalTransporters in Mongu District

Table 8: Agricultural Demand Sefula School

Table 9: Agricultural Demand Lewanika Hospital

Table 10: Agricultural Demand Country Lodge

Table 11: Inventory of InputTraders Mongu District

Table 12: Vaccine Prices Mongu District

Table 13: Livestock Dealer / Support Entities Western Province

Table 14: Restaurants in Mongu and Kalabo

Table 15: Inventory of Rice Traders Mongu District

Table 16: Inventory of Cassava Traders Mongu District

Table 17: Health-Facilities and Number of Beds Shangombo District

Table 18: Health-Facilities and Number of Beds Sesheke District

Table 19: Health-Facilities and Number of Beds Senanga District

Table 20: Health-Facilities and Number of Beds Mongu District

Table 21: Health-Facilities and Number of Beds Lukulu District

Table 22: Health-Facilities and Number of Beds Kaoma District

Table 23: Health-Facilities and Number of Beds Kalabo District

Table 24: National Average Agricultural Produce Prices 2010

Table 25: National Average Agricultural Produce Prices 2009

Table 26: National Average Agricultural Produce Prices 2008

Table 27: National Average Agricultural Produce Prices 2007

List of Figures

Figure 1: Population Distribution Zambia by Province

Figure 2: Map of Western Province/Mongu District

Figure 3: Population Distribution Western Province by District

Figure 4: Agro-Ecological Zones in Zambia

Figure 5: Language Distribution Zambia

Figure 5: Urban Population Growth Zambia

Figure 6: Purchasing Power Parity per Capita Zambia

Figure 7: Farmer-to-Market Linkage Model

Figure 8: Farmer-to-Market Linkage Model Example Mongu District for Rice

Figure 10: Major Populated Areas in Zambia

Figure 11: Major Populated Areas in Southern Africa

Figure 12: Cattle Rearing Households by Districts

Figure 13: Population Distribution by Province 2010

Figure 14: Annual Rate of Population Growth by Province, 2000-2010

Figure 15: Market Information Cattle

Figure 16: Market Information Chicken

Figure 17: Market Information Rice

Figure 18: Market Information Millet

Figure 19: Market Information Cowpeas

Figure 20: Market Information Virginia Tobacco

Figure 21: Market Information Sweet Potatoes

Figure 22: Market Information Irish Potatoes

Figure 23: Market Information Sorghum

Figure 24: Market Information Groundnuts

Figure 25: Market Information Beans

Figure 26: Market Information Vegetables

Figure 27: Hospitals in Zambia

Figure 28: All Health Facilities in Zambia

Figure 29: Basic School Distribution in Zambia

Figure 30: High School Distribution in Zambia

Table of Abbreviations

illustration not visible in this excerpt

Executive Summary

More than two thirds of Sub-Saharan African people live in rural areas and 90 percent of these people depend on agriculture as their main source of income. At the same time rural poverty accounts for 90 percent of total poverty. With the great area of arable and nutritional land and number of people engaged in agriculture, the potential of agricultural growth to reduce poverty in Sub-Saharan Africa is four times greater than the potential of growth from any other economic sector. However, Sub-Saharan agriculture lags far behind its potential with productivity levels being 10 times lower compared to their South American counterparts. One major reason for these low productivity levels is found in inadequate linkages of Sub-Saharan African farmers to markets. The research goal of this thesis is to create a farmer-to-market linkage model that comprises a holistic approach of all variables affecting the linkage problem in order to facilitate the identification of flaws why farmers are inadequately linked to markets. The thesis concentrates its analysis on Mongu District, an area in the Western Province of Zambia, and illustrates the model by using this geographical sample. Despite this, the model developed is generalizable to other areas outside the Province and country. The model is based on four preconditions that determine agricultural production and marketing productivity of small-scale farmers. Agro- ecological preconditions of an area decide which agricultural production farmers can be engaged in based on naturally given factors such as soil type, climate conditions, weather, vegetation, elevation and natural water resources such as rivers and lakes. In order to be productive, farmers also may require certain farming input provided by men, in case no natural factors cover these needs. These inputs include availability, accessibility and quality of seed, fertilizer, vaccine, pesticides, credit, electricity, labour and also man-made water points in areas where water represents a scarce natural resource and thus must be provided by artificial wells. These components can be summarized under physical input preconditions that determine the farmer's production productivity. Physical input preconditions, in addition, include transport and storage infrastructure determining the farmer's marketing productivity.

In order to be productive in production and marketing, the farmer furthermore must either possess sufficient skills and knowledge in these fields or have easy access to quality extension, where he can gain these. Informational preconditions describe factors such as the availability, accessibility and quality of market information on demand, supply, prices, trends and improvements in the sector as well as market contacts from potential buyers. While the latter one is a precondition for the farmer's marketing productivity, the others affect his production productivity. In case all components of these four preconditions are evaluated positive, the farmers of a region successfully reach potential markets and operate at their full potential. The study revealed that Mongu District, the area under study, possesses a competitive advantage in rice cultivation as well as in rearing of cattle based on its agro-ecological conditions. The components of physical input, intellectual and informational preconditions for these two agricultural sub sectors indicated deficits, mainly due to problems in transport infrastructure and low skill and knowledge levels. Because of this, farmers are not able to know or meet quality and quantity requirements of buyers in the markets and are cut-off from efficient transport modes. This, in turn forces farmers to accept substantially lower profits or even losses. The money that could be gained from surplus production could be used to pay tuition fees for children or buy health supplements. Unproductive market linkages, however, prevent farmers from achieving such a development level.

1.0. Introduction

African small-scale farmers are inadequately linked to markets to sell their harvested produce. On the one hand this is mainly because farmers are unable to produce according to what is demanded by buyers and on the other hand due to intermediary constraints. This current lack of adequate market linkages prevents farmers to sell their surplus production profitably. While this problem has been widely recognized by NGOs and governmental institutions, little improvements have been made so far. Literature fails to provide an overview of this problem that includes all variables affecting farmers and their linkage to markets. Zambia in particular has received minor consideration in the current literature concerning this problem. Therefore, two NGOs, namely Henwood Foundation and NAK Karitativ, have chosen this Master Thesis to create a farmer-to-market linkage model that incorporates all variables affecting farmers from being inadequately linked to markets while focus is placed on those variables that are amendable to influence by NGOs rather than external variables.

The literature review in the following section two indicates how severe the market linkage problem actually is for small-scale farmers and what possibilities there are to tackle this dilemma. Based on the literature review, the research problem, its goal and its objectives as well as the data collection methods are specified in section three. Section four will provide an introduction to Zambia as well as to Western Province, a state in Zambia, and to Mongu District, a region in Western Province which received the geographical focus ofthis thesis. Building on this, the farmer-to-market linkage model will receive attention. Section five and six point out preconditions that determine agricultural output, which ultimately decides how well farmers can be linked to markets. Also, actual markets and their demand structure are stated in these sections. Based on sections five and six, the final farmer-to-market linkage model is developed and subsequently discussed in section seven. The thesis concludes with some incitation to solve this dilemma in section eight and a final conclusion outlining limitations ofthis study and suggestions for further research in section nine.

2.0. Literature Review

The role of agriculture in sustainable development and poverty reduction for the vast majority of developing countries cannot be overemphasized: 45 percent of the developing world's population live in households involved in agriculture, 27 percent in smallholder households and most smallholder farmers depend on agriculture for their livelihoods (Larsen et. al. 2009). The potential of agriculture for poverty reduction is nowhere greater than in Sub-Saharan Africa. It is estimated that rural poverty accounts for as much as 90 percent of total poverty in the region. 70 percent of Sub-Saharan African people livein rural areas and 90 percent of these people also depend on agriculture as their main source of income (IFAD 2007). Due to the great amount of arable and nutritional land in Sub-Saharan Africa and the number of people working in agriculture, it will remain the lead economic sector of comparative advantage in Sub-Saharan Africa. In fact, the potential of agricultural growth to reduce poverty in Sub- Saharan Africa is four times greater than the potential of growth from any other economic sector (Larsen et. al. 2009). Progress in reducing poverty is closely linked to the performance of small-scale farmers as they account for the vast majority of rural farmers. International standards classify a farmer to be of small scale when the farmer's property does not exceed 10 hectares of land (World Bank 1997). Small-scale farmers depend on manual labor or in fewer occasions on livestock to till their land rather than on machinery. The primary objective of these small-scale farmers is to feed themselves and their families. Only after having accomplished this is any surplus production sold to pay for household utensils, farm inputs, medicines, and education for their children. These surpluses not only feed the rest of the nation, but also represent the bulk of most African country's export earnings (Ferris 2005). Although dramatic agricultural growth has been a critical driver of poverty reduction in some parts of the world, in large parts of Africa its performance has been disappointing with low or negative per capital growth over much of the past 40 years or so (Kirsten 2009). Sub-Saharan Africa possesses 12 percent of the world's arable land. However, the region's share of global agricultural exports has declined gradually from almost 10 percent four decades ago to around 2 percent today. On the import side, the opposite pattern emerged: Sub-Saharan Africa is the only developing region that has seen its share of world agricultural imports increase rather than decrease (Webber and Labaste 2009). This is because Sub-Saharan Africa has not managed to increase productivity levels in the agricultural operations, thus leaving the region uncompetitive in international markets. Productivity levels in agriculture can be measured by the agricultural value added per worker. In these terms, Sub-Saharan

Africa's agricultural productivity measure is the world's lowest. The world agricultural productivity average is 3 times the Sub-Saharan African level, and Latin America is nearly 10 times more productive per worker. Raising the productivity of agricultural value chains is key to the success of Sub-Saharan African's rural economies and to the incomes of Sub-Saharan African's rural population (Webber and Labaste 2009). One reason why productivity levels are low in Sub-Saharan African countries is because of inadequate or lack of market linkages that would enable small-scale farmers to sell their surplus production. A market linkage is often referred to in the literature on rural development as "a physical as well as a non-physical connection between the producer and the ultimate consumer including the movement of goods as well as financial and informational transactions (Tracey-White 2005, p.)".

Produce grown by rural African small-scale farmers often goes to waste because farmers have limited knowledge of where to sell their surpluses and how to transport the produce to the market (Ferris 2005). Many NGO activities have failed in the past because of the lack of reliable and sustainable market linkages (Shepherd 2007). The lack of efficient farmer-to-market linkages in many Sub-Saharan African Nations is draining the small-scale farmer's earnings and retards their development (OECD 2009). Thus, strengthening farmer-to-market linkages helps to transform the African agricultural sector by accelerating productivity growth, increasing income and employment generation, improving food security, and increasing competitiveness in regional and international trade (World Bank 2005).

One reason for the absence of market linkages can be found in the low purchasing power of Sub- Saharan African populations preventing the establishment of markets. However, even though there is low purchasing power, the African population is growing and income levels are rising. In addition, since demand for food and other agricultural products is growing, this reason is only of minor importance. More significant for the constraint of farmer-to-market linkages is that the markets that do exist oftentimes cannot be supplied by the farmer in a way that meets the buyer's demands. Farmers often have little understanding of buyer requirements for specific crop varieties, high quality standards, specified production volumes or timeliness of delivery. Vorley et.al. (2007) state, that it is not sufficient to merely create or identify the market and the linkages. Farmers need to be in a position to supply the markets with products meeting the quality desired and to ensure the reliability of the supply as expected by the buyer. The farmer's lack of commercial skills and knowledge of the way in which commercial enterprises operate is a significant constraint on the development of effective linkages (Dannson and Rottger 2004), Without the presence of entrepreneurial capacity including planning, anticipation, and negotiation capacity, a sustainable and successful development of agribusiness-linkage relationships cannot be achieved (Santacoloma et. al. 2007). In addition to the widespread lack of basic agricultural skills and knowledge throughout the country, new standards arose over the last decade including globalization, largely imposed by the private sector rather than by governments, making it even more difficult for small farmers to compete. Farmers, who formerly had to meet quality standards only, are now expected to meet safety requirements and, in future, might be required to comply with a range of social, environmental and ethical criteria (Shepherd 2007). The challenge faced by commercial chains is therefore the need to constantly adopt and respond to changes in the dynamic market environment (Bernet et. al. 2006). Besides buyer requirements of quantity and quality, farmers must know in the first place what produce they should focus on and at what time of the season. Limited access to market information jeopardizes the position of small producers in the market place, making agricultural production unprofitable and risky. Adequate information on demand, supply, current prices and trends are required by the farmer to make the right decision of what to grow, at what time and where to sell it. Unlike farmers in developed countries, most African farmers do not have the means to access adequate market information and such a service must therefore be provided by an independent agency (OECD 2009). It has long been recognized that the process of liberalizing agricultural markets in African countries has to be accompanied by the provision of independent market information to all stakeholders in the commercial chain in order to avoid distortions in these markets (Ferris and Robbins 2005). Most African countries have failed to provide such information making farmers uncertain of demand and supply situations, thus creating market flooding of some produces and supply shortages of others.

Another major reason for the market-linkage problem is that rural isolated farmers do not have transport possibilities to reach existing markets, making them dependent on the use of middlemen for bringing their surplus produce to markets. These middlemen often delay in payments, have inadequate transport vehicles, demand inacceptable prices, do not assure pick-up and are inefficient in general (Ferris 2005). Most food commodities are perishable and are thus subject to high post-harvest losses. Such commodities need timely transportation to the markets, but middlemen often cannot guarantee this (Birthal et. al. 2008). Also, the role of these intermediaries may overlap and in less developed marketing systems their functions may in some occasions be unnecessary or unclear (United Nations 2009). This is the case when intermediaries are used even though agricultural produce could have been marketed to consumers directly. The use of intermediaries takes away some of the profit the farmer would have made without its usage and is a result of the lack of available market information leaving the farmers unknowing that markets can be supplied directly. The goal is therefore to cut intermediaries out of the commercial chain and thereby maximize profit for small-scale farmers. Furthermore, poor road infrastructure renders transport intermediaries worthless due to the premium charged for the risk they take when transporting on gravel road, eventually forcing farmers to sell at break-even or at a loss.

Apart from the costs associated, poor infrastructure often makes it impossible for transport intermediaries to bridge the gap between farmers and markets in the first place, thus hindering the farmer to sell any of his surplus production. In general, small-scale farmers are considered to be on the weaker end of the negotiation side and to be constantly exploited by the buyer. This is because they are unable to exert significant influence on the markets with the little volume they produce. The inability to bulk their produce with other farmers, in turn, is mainly caused by mistrust among farmers, inability to coordinate themselves and a lack of storage facilities.

Possible markets for small-scale farmers are direct supply agreements with organizations such as restaurants and hotel chains, cooperatives, supermarket and chain stores and institutions such as schools, the army or hospitals (Tracey-White 2005). Such agreements also exist with exporting companies, food processors and other food supply chain participants and are known as contract farming or out-grower schemes. Within these agreements it is common for farmers to group their produce and supply bulk in order to achieve better prices and to establish the market link in the first place. However, such markets generally determine a common price for suppliers, independent of where they are located. Thus, farmers in remote areas have much higher transportation costs than those located in the vicinity of contract partners, while the price received remains the same for all. The supply agreements between small-scale farmers and contract partners rely mainly on verbally formulated agreements. The danger of verbal contracts is that they are not always honoured, subsequently, creating mistrust between small-scale farmers and contract partners. This is because weak contract enforcement measures and an inefficient jurisdiction make contractual agreements in most African countries unreliable and consequently obsolete (Dannson and Rottger 2004). Mistrust can be caused by both sides. For example when farmers engage in side-selling - a common phenomenon in Africa - or when the buyer side takes advantage of its stronger negotiation position. Small-scale farmers face problems with hold-ups such as payment or pick-up delays from contractual partners in cases when the contract partner takes charge of transportation. Besides being a useful way of linking farmers to markets, contract farming is therefore also viewed with scepticism. Some argue that contract farming is a partnership between unequal players where the producer is the weaker party and vulnerable to exploitation by the dominant party (Birthal et.al. 2008).

Africa has been portrayed as a laggard in the surge of supermarket expansion, with a growing penetration in East and Southern Africa and a beginning expansion in West Africa (Tschirley 2007). Concerns about exclusion of smallholder farmers from supermarket supply channels are most acute in fresh produce. Concerns are based on the efforts of fresh produce procurement managers to provide consumers with a stable, year-round supply of safe, high quality produce at competitive prices. Farmers that cannot meet these criteria, especially the need for fixed quantities every week of the year, are taken off the supermarket's supplier lists. Smallholder farmers are especially challenged in this regard and evidence is mounting that all but a tiny minority, whether independent or in farmer groups, are unable to get on these preferred supplier lists on a continuous basis. While smallholder exclusion from large supermarket supply chains is a reality, it cannot be considered to be one of the top tier concerns in this area of the world; nor is it likely to become a top tier concern over the next 10-20 years in most African countries. This is, as supermarket shares are projected to remain a tiny percentage of overall rural markets in this time period. Zambia is among the most favored countries by supermarket chains (Tschirley 2007). But even in Zambia retail sectors will remain highly diversified with small shops, kiosks, and street vendors retaining the major market share for the foreseeable future. The development of the catering industry in Zambia will go hand in hand with the development of the agricultural sector. As the purchasing power among the population is increasing the demand for catering services used in restaurants, hotels, guesthouses and lodges increases as well, thereby, providing greater contract farming opportunities for small-scale farmers. Contract farming has proven to be an effective mechanism for involving smallholder farmers in export crop production and achieving economies of scale. However, in general there tends to be an emphasis on seeking markets overseas rather than on developing domestic markets. In addition, the successful development of export markets is expensive and complex, particularly where small farmers are involved (Shepherd 2007). The produce of small-scale farmers often meets the safety and nutrition requirements of the export market but fails to meet the standards in appearance, shape, length and size of the export market (Vorley et. al. 2007). While there may be reservations about the suitability of some export markets for small farmers, it is clear that they still provide possibilities for market linkages. In many developing countries, on the other hand, urban high-value markets appear to offer considerable potential. Stores often sell imported products that could be produced profitably by domestic farmers (Shepherd 2007). In Zambia, the domestic fresh produce system for example is 10-20 times larger than exports (Tschirley et. al. 2004) and purchasing power and population rates are increasing.

3.0. Methodology

Online literature discussing the market-linkage problem is widely available, however, often targets the overall situation of African farmers and therefore remains on a generic level and neglects the individuality of a specific country or region. Studies that do have a limited focus to a specific region are likely to discuss only some of the components relating to the farmer-to-market linkage problem. Therefore, only basic information required for introducing the topic and frame of this Master Thesis in the literature review was taken from existing online literature. Based on the literature review, the research problem is stated as in the following:

Research Problem:

- Small-scale farmers are the pivotal element of potential poverty reduction in Sub-Saharan Africa, but contribute little to actual poverty reduction due to low productivity levels, for which inadequate farmer-to-market linkages are a major reason.

The research for this thesis was geographically narrowed down to the area of Western Province, the western state of Zambia, in order to enrich rather than enlarge the research. With the limited timely resources available for this Thesis, a focus on a small geographical area provides a greater in-depth analysis for the problem under study which would not be possible with the focus on a larger area. For the same reason, the report will concentrate on local markets in Zambia rather than on export markets. No extensive research had yet been conducted in this field with special focus on small-scale farmers in Western Province, Zambia making the collection of secondary and primary data on-site necessary in a subsequent step. Western Province was chosen as area under study, since the cooperating NGOs for this thesis have a large agricultural presence in this area allowing for easier data access. One district of Western Province called Mongu, served as data collection area for primary and secondary data.

However, as the problem of linking farmers to markets also requires information on demand, supply and prices in other districts and provinces of the country, the research frequently refers to Western Province as a whole as well as to markets outside ofWestern Province.

While Western Province has not received great consideration for the problem under study, there has in general not yet been a model developed that tackles the farmer-to-market linkage dilemma. Therefore this thesis was chosen to create such a model that is tailored to Western Province but can however be generalized to other areas outside the Province and country. The research goal can thus be stated as the following:

Research Goal:

- Creating a dynamic farmer-to-market linkage model that incorporates all variables affecting the research problem and is generalizable to other areas apart from Western Province, Zambia.

By investigating a geographical area that had not been under intensive study yet and by creating a model for the research problem that has not yet been done, this research therefore offers an original contribution to the academic discussion. The model will indicate all variables that affect the research problem. However, little attention is paid to exogenous variables such as government policies but rather focuses on variables that are open to influence by the cooperating NGOs. Based on this research goal, the research objectives can be formulated as in the following:

Research Objectives:

- Identification of agro-ecological conditions existing in Western Province in order to identify suitable production factors and assess the potential of cultivating these given the natural preconditions.
- Identification of farming input availability, accessibility and quality in Western Province to identify suitable production factors and assess the potential of cultivating these given the man­made preconditions.
- Identification of current skill and knowledge levels of farmers in Western Province and level of access and quality to such intellectual resources in order for them to grow what is demanded by the buyer.
- Identification of markets, demand, supply, price, market trend and contact information of supply chain members for agricultural produce in Mongu District, Western Province and Zambia as a whole to identify what to grow, at what time and where to sell it.

The collection of primary and secondary data on-site is conducted with reference to the research problem which was drawn from theory which last one was not available for this study. Therefore, this thesis follows a deductive approach, in which the existing literature is tested against field data and a concluding farmer-to-market linkage model is derived at the end. Further, this thesis places emphasis on documents and interviews that are expressed in words rather than quantifications which makes this research to be based on qualitative ground. The advantages and disadvantages as well as the validity and robustness of the sources used for this thesis for secondary and primary data collection are discussed in the coming sub-sections.

3.1. Secondary Data

The lack of secondary data on farmer-to-market linkages especially for Western Province in Zambia is compensated in this thesis by the collection of written material obtained from private and governmental institutions during a twelve day-stay in Lusaka and Mongu in December 2010. Sources of written documents used in this thesis came from the ministries of agriculture, health and education in Mongu Town; the central statistical office (CSO), the library of the University ofZambia in Lusaka (UNZA), other local NGOs operating in Western Province and Zambian agricultural research institutions. The secondary data collected on-site particularly refers to market information on demand, supply, prices and buyer's for agricultural input and output within Zambia. The use of governmental sources was inevitable to obtain the majority of such market information. However, it was to the disadvantage of being reliant upon their willingness to provide them for this thesis. Also, data was often incomplete and in some occasions had to be combined from several sources as ministries did not continuously have sufficient resources to undertake market research on the information required for this thesis. Validity and robustness of this thesis certainly increased by the use of these recognized data sources but due to the mentioned disadvantages, further research is necessary for achieving greater measurement integrity.

3.2. Primary Data

Semi-structured interviews have been conducted with several members of the agricultural supply chain in Mongu District, Western Province, Zambia in order to receive secondary data for this geographical area to further strengthen the validity of research results. Interview questions were based on the research problem, its goals and objectives. Small-scale farmers represent the central party of this research and interviews with eight farmers were therefore conducted to identify market linkage problems related to the production side of the supply chain. An interview was also conducted with transport intermediaries on the local street market in rural Mongu Town, who represent a linkage between small-scale farmers and markets. To account for the market side in the study, an interview was carried out with the supply chain manager for the 16 Zambian Shoprite stores, of which one is located in Mongu Town. Shoprite operates more than a thousand supermarket stores in 17 African countries and accounts for up to 70 percent of South African retail trade. Two food processors were interviewed in Mongu Town; namely APG Milling and Zambeef. The APG Milling Company is the food processor for maize and rice in Western Province. Only the District Sesheke is entirely served by other food processors. Zambeef is the biggest meat processor in Zambia with 130 outlets of which one of the biggest outlets is located in Mongu Town. It has a market share of 20 percent and operates in several African countries. Further interviews were conducted in Mongu Town with Sefula School, the Provincial main hospital Lewanika, and a provider of accommodation named Country Lodge. The Board Secretary and Director of the Golden ValleyAgricultural ResearchTrust (GART), Dr. Stephen Muliokela, was metin Lusaka and provided further direction for this thesis. GART is a private public partnership initiative and part of Zambia's Agricultural Research and extension system. Its objectives are translated into two science and technology programs dealing with conservation farming and smallholder livestock development respectively.

The goal of the on-site stay in Zambia was to collect as many information as possible in the limited amount of time available. As interviews were only collected from a limited number of people and as interviews were partly translated from Lozi to English, the validity of the results slightly decreased.

4.0. Introduction to the Area under Study

4.1. Introduction to Zambia

Even though the Zambian economic growth rate followed a steady upward trend over the last few years, Zambia remains one of the poorest countries in the world and is ranked as number 127 in the United Nation Human Development Index (2009). Zambia has abundant land resources, favourable soils, relatively sufficient rainfall and low population density. A study by the African Development Bank (1993) on regional integration potential in Southern Africa concluded that Zambia possesses the natural resources to be a major food and agricultural producer for the region. Nonetheless, the agricultural sector is still far from attaining its full potential as a contributor to the economy and to the well-being of the majority of the population, whose livelihood depend to a great extent directly on farming (Anderson and Masters 2009). Less than 15 percent of Zambia's arable land is under cultivation; only 10 percent of the land area suitable for irrigation is being irrigated. Within this 40 percent of rural households are engaged solely in subsistence agriculture and do not contribute to the overall economic growth (OECD 2008) . The agricultural sector contributes roughly 20 percent to Zambia's GDP. This value creation is mainly attributable to the small-scale farmers that account for 90 percent of all Zambian farmers (OECD 2009) . Further, the agricultural sector accounts for 14 percent ofZambia's exports and, therefore, international trade contributes a relatively large share to regional GDP as well (Dixon et. al. 2001). Zambian small-scale farmers own about two thirds of the agricultural land, and produce the bulk of raw materials that feed the processing industry (OECD 2009). Prior to the commencement of liberalization in Zambia in 1991 the government essentially fixed prices for key food and cash crop commodities and paid farmers (Ferris 2005). Today, the Zambian agricultural market is relatively liberalized with government price interventions occurring only for a few cash crops, most importantly maize.

The currency used is Zambian Kwacha (ZMK) and exchanges to the US-Dollar by approximately ZMK 5.000 to USD 1 (March 2011). Zambia's population totals 13,046,508 million people according to the latest census of 2010 (CSO). Zambia exhibits a population growth rate of 3.118 percent while the people living in urban areas comprise 35 percent of the total Zambian population (see figure 1 on next page). The urbanization has on average been increasing by 2.3 percent annually over the period from 2005 - 2010 (CSO 2010) and purchasing power per capita has constantly and strongly increased over the last decades. The country is divided into nine Provinces with Lusaka Province being the most populated one and also including the capital city of Zambia with a population of just above 1.3 million.

Figure 1: Population Distribution Zambia by Province

illustration not visible in this excerpt

Central Statistical Office, Preliminary Census Data 2010

4.2. Introduction Western Province/Mongu District

Western Province is, as the name already indicates, located in the Western part of Zambia (see figure 2 below).

Figure 2: Map ofWestern Province/Mongu District

illustration not visible in this excerpt

It is divided into seven districts with a total population of 881,524 people according to the census of 2010. Most people live in the districts of Kaoma and Mongu as can be seen in figure 3 below.

Figure 3: Population Distribution Western Province by District

illustration not visible in this excerpt

Central Statistical Office, Preliminary Census Data 2010

Poverty levels in Western Province are the highest in the country and very little is done in terms of infrastructure development. Western Province social indicators reveal a poverty level of 84 percent among the population. This is very high even compared to the national average of 64 percent. This indicator has remained unchanged in six consecutive national surveys conducted by the government's Central Statistical Office since 1991 (CSO 2010). While 19 percent of Zambian households have access to electricity, only 3.5 percent of families in Western Province do so. The province has no industry worth mentioning and the South African supermarket chain, Shoprite, represents the only foreign investor in the region. The population of Western Province has been increasing by more than 200.000 inhabitants over the last two decades and this trend is projected to prevail in the future. Despite this absolute growth, the annual population growth rate of 1.4 percent (CSO 2010) in this time period was the lowest of all Zambian Provinces. An explanation can be found in migration of people, who leave Zambia's poorest Province in hope for a better future in Zambia's major cities. Agriculture plays by far the dominant role in the Province with employment numbers reaching towards a 100 percent. Mongu, besides being a district, is also the capital city of Western Province. Mongu district is situated in the center of Western Province with approximately 162,000 people living there. The annual population growth rate of the District amounts to 2.7% according to the 2000 census. Similar to all other Districts of Western Province, the majority of people living here depend directly or indirectly on agriculture for a living. The 14,000 registered farmers in the district are mainly guided by the government extension service system through the camp extension officers, who are in charge of training and monitoring the farmers. The farmer population is predominantly of small scale with a cultivation area size of less than five hectares (Ministry of Agriculture 2010).

5.0. Market-Linkage Pre-Conditions

There are certain pre-conditions that exist and correlate with farmer-to-market linkage problems. First of all, agro-ecological preconditions are naturally given and determine what is feasible to be cultivated in a certain geographical area. Determining factors mainly include soil and weather conditions but also vegetation and elevation of an area. Second, physical preconditions express factors affected and controlled by man and also define the feasibility of what agricultural activity farmers can engage in. These mainly include access to established water points, seeds, fertilizer, road, transport and storage infrastructure, as well as the availability of labor, electricity, credit, and vaccine for livestock. Third, intellectual preconditions define the extent to which the agro-ecological and physical preconditions can be used by farmers for production. These include knowledge and skill levels of farmers to produce a certain kind of product according to the requirements of the market as well as the ease of access and access quality to such knowledge and skills for farmers. Fourth, informational preconditions determine whether farmers have easy access to market data such as demand, supply, price, trend information as well as contact details of market linkages. The following analysis will examine all four preconditions mentioned based on data from Mongu District in Western Province, Zambia.

5.1. Agro-Ecological Preconditions

Zambia is divided into three main agro-ecological regions which are defined on the basis of climatic characteristics with rainfall being the dominant factor. Region II is further divided into Zone a and Zone b. The difference is marked by the type of soil existing: while Zone Ila comprises of sandy soil, Zone b is characterized by clay soil. The southern parts of Western Province are characterized by agro-ecological conditions of Region I and the remaining northern part by agro-ecological conditions of Region llb (refer to figure 4 on next page).

5.1.1. Region I - Southern Parts ofWestern Province

The Southern part of Western Province is categorized as Region I type with a low and evenly distributed mean annual rainfall in this region not exceeding 800mm. The growing season may contain as many as five 10-day dry periods of less than 30mm rainfall (Muliokela 1997). It is the shortest in the country with a cycle lasting from 80 to 120 days. Elevation ranges between 900 and 1200m. The region is characterized by comparably high temperatures and, in fact, is the driest of all three regions. At the same time severe frost may be expected on the hilly southern parts of region I in Western Province (Muliokela 1997). The soil in the region is suitable for cultivation but dry weather conditions limit crop production. In this area mainly drought-resistant crops should be cultivated such as cassava, millet, sorghum, potatoes and cowpeas.

Figure 4: Agro-Ecological Zones in Zambia

illustration not visible in this excerpt

Central Statistical Office (in Hunter 2009, p.19)

5.1.2. Region lib - Zambezi Flood Plains Western Province

The agro-ecological Region Ilb comprises the Zambezi flood plains of Western Province. The area experiences medium levels of annual rainfall between 800 and 1.000mm. Rainfall is generally well distributed and the length of the growing season ranges from 100 to 140 days. During the season there may be one to three 10-day dry periods of less than 30mm rainfall, which can significantly reduce crop yields especially on sandy soils (Muliokela 1997). The region is characterized by an elevation of 900 to 1.300 meters above sea level and severe frost may be experienced in some parts of the region from June to August. The prevailing soils have slight to severe chemical and physical limitations for crop production (Muliokela 1997). Despite this, soils in general are good and in normal years the climatic conditions are very favorable making the region one of the most productive. The region comprises various types of vegetation, but most of the Western Province area is covered by Kalahari woodland. Zambian rice is mainly grown under natural flood conditions rather than in paddies. The Zambezi flood plain in Western Province is therefore well suited for the production of this grain. The flood Plains of Zambezi River do also provide favorable conditions for the rearing of cattle. Additional crops cultivated in the area include cotton, sugar cane, maize and various other cereals as well as tobacco.

The impact of climate on agricultural production is a matter of great economic importance in Zambia. Extremes ofweather are - and always have been - a distinguishing feature of Zambia's climate and, in fact, wet and dry phases have taken turns on each other through climatic cycles since the beginning of organized agriculture. Year-to-year variability in rainfall has been important in determining crop output in most parts of the country. Variations in climatic conditions are perhaps the biggest constraint vis-á-vis agricultural diversification and intensification (Saasa 2003). In addition, soil fertility is declining in areas which have historically been the most productive ones, due to constant cultivation and over-application of fertilizer. This is mostly experienced in Zone I which has been severely affected by persistent droughts in recent years. Therefore, Zone II has become comparably more reliable in agricultural production (Saasa 2003). It is thus ofgreat importance for small-scale farmers to engage in such agricultural activities that provide the best trade-off between the most profitable crop to be grown and the lowest agro-ecological risk faced by using drought resistant crops. A detailed evaluation of agricultural activities best suited for Western Province is beyond the scope of this Master Thesis, but some of the drought resistant crops will receive closer consideration during this report. As Western Province has a competitive advantage in livestock as well as in rice production (Miluokela 2010), special attention will be placed on these two products.

As mentioned before, the Zambezi flood plains of region IIb are well suited for rice production and offer ideal rearing opportunities for cattle. In terms of cattle, nevertheless, all three of Zambia's agro- ecological zones are suitable for this agricultural activity. With the country having four times more grazing than arable land, it may be argued that Zambia's potential lies in cattle and small ruminants rather than in the crop sector. Furthermore, the comparatively small population contrasts with Zambia's outstanding natural advantages of over 20 million hectares of grazing land for the rearing of cattle. It is estimated that the country could sustain over seven million cattle using current livestock practices as opposed to the three million currently being held in Zambia (World Bank et. al. 2010). Due to the geographic location ofWestern Province with its low-lying area, cattle are particularly affected by liver flux. This major cattle disease has significantly prevented the growth of cattle in Western Province according to the interviewed Zambeef manager.

5.2. Physical Input Preconditions

Besides the agro-ecological characteristics of Western Province, research has to be conducted on the region's infrastructural standstill. This factor focuses on farming input availability organized by men rather than given by nature. Inputs include availability of established water points for irrigation, availability of seed, fertilizer, vaccine, credit, electricity and labor for planting and cultivation, availability of storage, road, and transport infrastructure for marketing. In Zambia, infrastructure and access to input factors continue to be a major burden on farmers in particular in Western Province, which has long been neglected by the government (OECD 2008). In addition only few NGOs are operating in the rural area, while more do so in the urban capital Mongu.

The governmental Farmer Input Support Program (FISP) is the major supplier of seeds and fertilizer in the region distributing these farming inputs at subsidized prices. During the first quarter of the 2010 season, FISP was the major input supplier of seeds and fertilizer in Western Province. Within the region, From all Districts ofWestern Province, Mongu benefited most from FISP with 2450 bags of seed and 9400 bags of fertilizer that government distributed to farmers. Still, FISP's proved contribution is far below the actual input need by farmers. Mongu District has 50 extension support camps but only 27 of them are manned. Thus, farmers living in the vicinity of unmanned camps cannot benefit from the FISP. The overall number of farmers who benefited from the FISP in 2010 totaled 2.837, which is a small number given that the district is home to a total of almost 14.000 registered farmers. In addition, delivery of seed bags was delayed in the first and third quarter of 2010. This problem occurred frequently in the past, thereby decreasing the farmer's participation in production (Third Quarter Report Ministry of Agriculture 2010). The private sector supplied the district with a large variety of seeds but limited quantities of fertilizer. However, local seeds available from the private sector oftentimes are of low yield per hectare and are available mainly in Mongu town, thus, resulting in long distances to be covered for the majority of the farmers in Mongu District (Ministry of Agriculture Mongu 2010). A list of private sector suppliers for seed input in Mongu District can be found in table 11 in the appendix. Even though the problem with poor quality of rice grain has widely been overcome for this crop in Western Province, thanks to rice development programs in the area (Muliokela 2010), the problem of long distances to be covered remains. Thus, while the Zambezi flood plains in Western Province are well suited for the cultivation of rice and other crops, the area is very remote due to the transport impediments to these areas, rice farmers generally face high input prices and correspondingly low output prices.


Excerpt out of 89 pages


Tackling the Farmer-to-Market-Linkage Problem for Small-Scale-Farmers in Sub-Saharan Africa
Creation of a Farmer-to-Market Linkage Model with Zambia as Exemplifying Area
University of Applied Sciences Chur
Catalog Number
ISBN (eBook)
ISBN (Book)
File size
4425 KB
Africa, Sub-Saharan Africa, Zambia, Small-Scale Farmers, Farmer-to-Market Linkages, Subsistence Farming, Agriculture, Subsistence Agriculture, Outgrower schemes, third world, aid organization, Humanitarian Aid, NGO, Non-Governmental Organization, Poverty, Contract Farming, Western Province, Lusaka, Mongu, Agricultural Productivity, Agricultural Marketing Productivity, Agricultural Production Productivity
Quote paper
Matthias Zoephel (Author), 2011, Tackling the Farmer-to-Market-Linkage Problem for Small-Scale-Farmers in Sub-Saharan Africa, Munich, GRIN Verlag, https://www.grin.com/document/171130


  • No comments yet.
Read the ebook
Title: Tackling the Farmer-to-Market-Linkage Problem for Small-Scale-Farmers in Sub-Saharan Africa

Upload papers

Your term paper / thesis:

- Publication as eBook and book
- High royalties for the sales
- Completely free - with ISBN
- It only takes five minutes
- Every paper finds readers

Publish now - it's free