Small holder farmers access to markets: Case of indigenous Vegetables in Zambia

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Bwalya, Victoria
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The University of Zambia
There appears to be Uttle empirical evidence to support the claims that indigenous vegetables are the least produced and marketed vegetables in Zambia. Hence the main objective of this study was to determine the production level of indigenous vegetables among smallholder farmers. The study also determined the access of indigenous vegetable farmers to markets as well as establish factors that affect the marketing of indigenous vegetables in Zambia. Secondary data collected by Food Security and Research Programme (FSRP) was used for the study from which 4,087 respondents who produced vegetables were selected from a total sample of 8,094 respondents in Zambia. Results show that some of the commonly produced and marketed indigenous vegetables in Zambia include: Beans leaves (Vigna spp). Sweet potato leaves (Ipomeas spp). Pumpkin leaves {Cucurbita spp). Cassava leaves {Manihot esculentd) and African eggplant {Macrocarpon spp). Most farmers also produced exotic vegetables such as Cabbage, rape and Chinese cabbage. The average quantity of indigenous vegetables that was produced among the respondents was 98Kg, with Pumpkin leaves having the highest average quantity of 162Kg in Eastern Province. About 4.2 percent of farmers sold their indigenous vegetables. Out of these who sold their vegetables, 66 percent sold to open markets, 22.5 percent sold to traders, while 11.5 percent sold to other households. The Probit model used in the analysis, established several factors that affect the probability of marketing the vegetables. The factors that were established varied depending on the type of vegetable. In the case of bean leaves, education (p = 0.0140), household size (p = 0.0058) and production assets (p = 0.0082) were statistically significant. In the case of African eggplant, age of the farmer (p = 0.0183) was statistically significant and in the case of sweet potatoes, gender (p = 0.0524) was statistically significant. With regards to gender, more women were involved in indigenous vegetable production and marketing. Men were only involved when the activity became formal and highly rewarding. In general the above results from the Probit model imply that a unit increase in any of the statistically significant variables, increases the probability of marketing the indigenous vegetables. Therefore, there is need for more extension work to be done on indigenous vegetable production as well as improve the infrastructure in the coimtry to encourage their marketing. Extension should target female as well as male farmers in order to encourage or promote to production and marketing indigenous vegetable. This will eventually to increase productivity and contribute to poverty reduction among smallholder farmers in Zambia.
Farmers , Farm marketing