Factors influencing small scale vegetable producers choice of marketing channels in Zambia: A case study of Mazabuka

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Zimba, lameck L.
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The University of Zambia
Access to market in the form of different channels for small scale vegetable farmers is crucial for exploiting the potential of vegetable production to contribute to increased cash income of rural households. Identifying factors affecting market channel decision is therefore important. This paper reports on the findings of a study to investigate the factors that influence these choices among small scale vegetable farmers in Zambia. The study found out that the main marketing channels existing in the area were 1) private traders, 2) neighboring household. Vegetabte farmers can choose to sell all, a proportion or nothing of their vegetable through any of these channels. Random sample of 96 household were selected from a number of camps to ensure representation of all categories of households The study reveals that more 60% of the interviewed farmers sold their produce to neighboring farmers while less than 30% sold to private informal traders. Probit regressbn is made and the regression results for member farmers revealed that factors such as total farm income to affected market outlet choice. The factors that influence the producers' market participation decisions included distance to nearest urban market (p-value 0.002) with marginal effect of -.0027459 i.e. a km increase in distance is less likely to increase market participatbn by 0.27%. Transport cost to nearest market is significantly important (p-value0.014) with marginal effect of -.039928i.e. a kwacha increase in transport cost is more likely to reduce market participation by 3.9% Experience in growing vegetables (p-valueO.OOO ) with marginal effect of .0.449929 i.e. being more experienced in growing vegetable is more likely to increase market participation by 44.9%. The study also identifies that rape is the most grown vegetable in the district and that its market is largely informaL Ownership of transportation is the only factor identified which affects the choice of marketing channel among small scale vegetable growers in the area. This study therefore recommend that more farmers be encouraged to grow vegetables not just as a subsistence crop but as a cash crop and also the devefopment of sustainable value chains and that more effort is put in setting up of appropriate policies and infrastructure to encourage more market participation thus developing the vegetable value chain.
Farm Marketing , Farmers , Farm Income