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Institutional Models for Accelerating Agricultural Commercialization: Evidence from Maize, Cotton and Horticulture

Antony Chapoto (), Steven Haggblade (), Munguzwe Hichaambwa, Stephen Kabwe (), Steven Longabaugh (), Nicholas Sitko () and David Tschirley ()

No 154940, Food Security Collaborative Policy Briefs from Michigan State University, Department of Agricultural, Food, and Resource Economics

Abstract: Although a majority of Zambians work in agriculture, only a small minority of smallholders succeed in transitioning to high-productivity, high-value commercial agriculture. Only 20% of cotton farmers and less than 5% of maize and horticulture farmers succeed as top-tier commercial growers (Table 1). By tracing the long-term agricultural trajectories of successful commercial cotton, maize and horticulture farmers, this study identifies two broad agricultural pathways out of poverty. The low road, exemplified by cotton production, involves a two-generation transition via low-value but with well-structured markets. The more restrictive high road, epitomized by horticulture production, offers a steeper ascent, enabling prosperity within a single generation, but requires commensurately higher levels of financing, management and risk. Personal characteristics that define successful commercial smallholders include: • strict discipline; • treatment of farming as a business; • good management of crop production, labor and finances; • a strong propensity to save; and • willingness to invest in their children’s education. Key institutions affecting smallholder performance include: • management and marketing support provided by the cotton companies to their contract farmers; • land allocation systems, particularly those permitting land consolidation in communal areas and smallholder transitions to farm blocks in state lands; • savings systems (both financial and livestock-based) that permit successful smallholders to rebound from period shocks.

Keywords: Agricultural; and; Food; Policy (search for similar items in EconPapers)
Pages: 4
Date: 2013-05
New Economics Papers: this item is included in nep-afr and nep-agr
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Persistent link: https://EconPapers.repec.org/RePEc:ags:midcpb:154940

DOI: 10.22004/ag.econ.154940

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