The influence of power relations on the tomato value chain in Lusaka province, Zambia.

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Katanga, Emily Mwembo
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The University of Zambia
Power relations are often studied in agricultural value chains because the different ways in which the participants in the value chain interact depends to a large extent on the forms of power present. Literature has shown that power relations among actors in agricultural value chains determine their operation and success. However, in the case of Lusaka Province it is largely undocumented how power relations are shaping the tomato value chain. It is against this background that this qualitative study intended to identify the actors in the tomato value chain, the forms of power and power relations. Further the study developed a framework of power mapping in order to assess the economic implications of the distribution of power. From December 2018 to February 2019 data was collected using key informant interviews, semi-structured interviews and structured observations from 72 traders, 32 market agents, 68 transporters, 38 farmers, four agro processors, five political agents, key informants from Lusaka City Council and Zambia National Farmers Union. Data sources were selected conveniently and by snowball sampling. Analysis of data was a continuous process of content analysis, creating themes and revisiting respondents to come up with a clearer picture of forms of power, their expressions and the economic implications of the distribution of power. This study identified farmers, transporters, traders, agro processors, market and political agents as actors in the tomato value chain. The forms of power present were found to be coercive, informational, legitimate, referent, reward, economic and expert power. The study showed that coercive power was expressed by market agents, political agents and traders towards farmers. Reward power was expressed by farmers towards market agents and market agents expressed reward power towards the traders. Expert and informational power was expressed by market agents and transporters towards framers and traders while legitimate power was solely expressed by the local city council towards all actors operating within Soweto market. Economic power was expressed by the agro processors towards the farmers, traders and market agents. The developed power mapping framework revealed that most of the power interactions occur on the formal-informal interface where the farmers, traders, transporters and market agents operate from. This study concluded that the distribution of particular forms power influences the structure of the tomato value chain and to a great extent determines the economic benefits attained by the actors. Thus this study recommends that policies concerned with value chain management should recognize and utilize as points of intervention the specific power relations shaping the value chains especially those that exist in the formal and informal interface.
Thesis of Master of Science in Environmental and Natural Resource Management