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Market participation and marketing channel preferences by small scale sorghum farmers in semi-arid Zimbabwe

Joseph P. Musara, Lovemore Musemwa, Munyaradzi Mutenje, Abbyssinia Mushunje and Charles Pfukwa

Agrekon, 2018, vol. 57, issue 1, 64-77

Abstract: A fundamental concern of agricultural development is the efficient marketing of goods and services. This paper examines the determinants of market participation and marketing channel choice decisions by small scale sorghum farmers using a case comprising 380 households from five Wards in the mid Zambezi Valley of Zimbabwe. Mixed data collection approaches including a questionnaire, observations and focus group discussions were used. Secondary data triangulated and validated farmers’ responses. A double hurdle based on probit and multinomial logit regression models was applied to the two decision making stages. Ninety six percent of the sampled farmers participated in some market as influenced by payment time, number of buyers in the market, age of principal decision maker and distance to market. Three marketing channels were isolated as local, traders and a combination. The local marketing channel dominates due to its convenience and relatively lower transaction costs. Using the local market option as the referent category, weighted average market price of sorghum, number of buyers in the market, distance to the market, dependency ratio and household income are the most robust determinants of marketing channel selection. Sorghum marketing channel options are limited for small scale farmers in Zimbabwe. Strengthening cooperative based and extension anchored marketing can reduce the risks associated with relating to external traders who usually exploit farmers for price, payment time and quality requirements. Decentralisation of the sorghum markets and promotion of value addition activities in the sorghum value chain is likely to reduce transaction costs and increase the market size.

Date: 2018
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