Consumer perceptions and determinants of demand for Cassava products in Lusaka District
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Cassava is an important crop in many parts of the country, with an area under cultivation estimated to be 47 per cent of that under maize. Upon introduction of various crop diversification projects, its production has been on the rise. Currently, most cassava grown in Zambia is used for household food security, although there are still opportunities for increased sales to consumers, particularly in urban areas. With much of the focus being on increasing supply, a persistent challenge to the cassava industry has been little availability of knowledge on demand for the crop and its products. A study was carried out in Lusaka District, aimed at determining the factors affecting demand for cassava products and the role of consumer perceptions on demand. The general objective of this study was to find out the perceptions of consumers towards cassava and the factors that affect their demand. The specific objectives were to identify the factors affecting quantity of cassava demanded by households, to describe the socio economic characteristics of cassava consumers and to assess the role of consumer perception on quantity of cassava demanded. A structured questionnaire was the primary instrument used for data collection. SPSS was used to generate descriptives while a regression model was run in STATA to determine which factors were significant. The value of cassava expenditure per household was used as a proxy for quantity of cassava demanded. Based on the results of the regression, price of maize meal, consumer preference and price of cassava meal were found to be significant, with p values of 0.002, 0.037 and 0.002, respectively. Recommendations that came out as a result of this research were that the government should embark on a series of promotion programs in order to raise awareness of cassava benefits. This can be done at household level, in schools and also hospitals. Markets for cassava could also be improved by minimising the transportation costs that exist between the production and consumption points. To make cassava attractive to more farmers, a similar program to that of the Farmer Input Support Program (FISP) can be introduced. Lastly, price policies can be put in place to avoid adverse fluctuations, especially if cassava is to serve as a food security crop.
The University of Zambia
- Agriculture