A comparative assesment of the performance of soy bean outgrower and non-outgrower farmers in Kabwe District

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Shadunka, Mweemba
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The overall focus of this study was to determine the performance of outgrower schemes (contract farming) and non-contract farming and thereafter compare the two farming arrangements. The objectives were to determine whether there was a significant difference regarding a) input costs between soybean contract farmers and non-contract small-scale farmers; b) the selling price of the output; c) production levels or productivity; d) the financial/economic benefits and costs. The comparative analysis was done in Kabwe District and a random sample of 60 outgrower farmers and 60 non-outgrower farmers was selected for the study. Both qualitative and quantitative methods of data collection were used. Descriptive methods (SPSS) were used to analyse both qualitative and quantitative dataFindings were that in general terms there was a significant difference in input costs between soybean contract and non-contract small-scale farmers by 11% in favour of Non-Contract Farmers. On the other hand it was found that there was a significant difference in the output selling price between contract and non-contract small-scale farmers by 25% in favour of Contract Farmers. It was further found that small-scale farmers who were cultivating on contract basis had noted an increase in their production levels. The student t-test was used to determine this difference which was found to be significant in terms of productivity and profits upon selling their produce as compared to non-contract farmers. Contract farmers had experienced an increase in yields upon adoption of this farming arrangement. The mean yield for Contract Farmers was 178kgs/ha and 155kgs/ha for Non-Contract Farmers. Due to this profitability is increased in the case of contract farmers. Furthermore, this farming arrangement improved the socio-economic status to the farmers who practiced it and this was seen in the increase in their incomes. This delineates a bright future for soybean outgrower schemes.Based on these findings, it is recommended that there is need for farmers and contracting companies to mutually agree on the producer price and include the selling price in the initial contract unlike revealing the output price after harvesting. This will lead to stable producer prices. The terms of paying back the loan should also be revised in instances were yields are affected by natural causes like draughts. There is need for government, projects and other service providers to facilitate the start up of many outgrower managers in the area since all the non-outgrower farmers were willing to adopt contract production of soybean. This will result in increased productivity as well as increased household incomes.
Soy Bean , Outgrower Farmers , Non-Outgrower Farmers