Zambian farmers' access to maize markets

Type Working Paper
Title Zambian farmers' access to maize markets
Publication (Day/Month/Year) 2011
Smallholder farmers’ access to markets and agricultural support services has been a major concern of Zambian policy makers. This study uses national representative post-harvest data of 2010/11 marketing season collected during the annual Government of Zambia’s Crop. Forecast Survey of 2011data to examine the distance traveled by smallholder farmers to the point of maize sale and the number of traders buying maize directly in farmers’ villages. The study highlights five salient findings. First, over 50% of smallholder farmers are within 3km of a feeder road that is accessible by vehicular transport. The second main finding is that despite the poor condition of many feeder roads in Zambia, most smallholder farmers either sell their maize directly on their farms or travel very short distances to sell their maize to private buyers. A third major finding concerns the degree of competition in village-level maize assembly markets. The fourth main finding is that the distance traveled from the farm to the point of maize sale was statistically unrelated to the farmers’ distance to district town. The fifth major finding is that farmers selling their maize to the Food Reserve Agency (FRA) are more likely to be located close to a district town. The Zambian government may wish to consider prioritizing agricultural investment in these productivity and market-enhancing public goods which currently receive a very small proportion of overall government spending on agriculture.

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