Groundnut Value Chain and Marketing Assessment in Eastern Province, Zambia

Type Working Paper
Title Groundnut Value Chain and Marketing Assessment in Eastern Province, Zambia
Publication (Day/Month/Year) 2012
An estimated 721,636 households currently grow, consume and trade groundnuts in Zambia and in 2010 267,567 ha produced 106,426 MT of shelled nuts of which 37,688 MT (35%) were sold and the rest consumed. 30% of the country’s groundnuts are produced in the Eastern Province, where 69% of small and medium scale farmers grow the crop.
This study set out to ascertain the constraints faced by farmers growing groundnuts in the Eastern Province of Zambia and identify those which limit most significantly the area planted to groundnuts; to determine the availability and accessibility of markets and gain insight into factors influencing farmers' marketing decisions; and to consider options and opportunities to establish a commercially operated marketing agency incorporating existing extension structures to provide a more competitive alternative to traditional marketing channels.
Analysis of available statistics indicates that whilst groundnut production and area planted to groundnuts have increased considerably in the past four years, yields, although they have increased, remain low, averaging 612 kg (unshelled nuts)/ha nationally. Yield is constrained largely by the continuous recycling of seed, limited availability of seed of improved varieties, late planting, and weed pressure. Farmers find that weeding, harvesting and shelling are particularly labour intensive, reducing the profitability of their groundnut crop, and the lack of reliable, organised markets and low prices are deterrents to planting larger areas to groundnuts.
For processors and traders, quality issues prevail, with unmanaged aflatoxin levels making export markets inaccessible and presenting health issues for local consumers. The dominance of the groundnut sector almost entirely by small-holder producers further makes the sourcing of large quantities of product extremely challenging, risky and costly.
The sector is in urgent need of organisation and requires considerable investment of effort in improving yields and product quality through extension input, seed multiplication, breeding initiatives, labour-saving technology transfer and aflatoxin control mechanisms. The marketing aspect needs to be addressed by the private sector with an organisational set-up akin to those developed by the cotton and tobacco industries and proven to work.
It is with the above in mind that we propose the establishment of a commercial marketing agency linking the CFU's vast and expert extension system with SAJARO, a group with considerable extension and marketing expertise within the small-holder sector in the Eastern Province. CFU is perfectly positioned to drive the improvements in productivity so badly needed by groundnut farmers and the industry as a whole, and to facilitate the introduction of improved technologies. SAJARO is poised to expand its existing extension and buying network to include groundnuts and, together with CFU's network of Farmer Coordinators, to ensure a reliable, transparent and fair marketing system linking groundnut producers with processors and traders so driving the industry forward.

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