Profitability analysis of smallholder cowpea production in Zambia

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Zulu, Esther T
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The University of Zambia
Pulses represent an important group of edible leguminous crops with unique potential to address the health, income creation, and agricultural sustainability needs of developing countries in Sub-Saharan Africa, Latin America and Asia. In Zambia there is recent realization concerning the importance of pulses, hence increase in production by small holder farmers. Various studies are thus being undertaken to study different pulses. This study focused on the profitability of an important pulse crop in Zambia i.e. cowpeas. The general objective of this study was to determine the profitability of cowpeas were as the specific objective was to determine the factors that affect profitability of cowpeas. This was done by carrying out a gross margin and regression analysis. The data used in this study was secondary data from the third supplemental survey which was collected by Food Security Research Project and Central Statistical Office. STATA was used to analyze the data and carry out both the gross margin as well as the regression analysis. The average gross margin was found to be positive. Several factors were found to affect profitability of cowpeas, such as production costs, yields, area planted, farm gate price and land tenure. Yields, land tenure and farm gate price had a positive influence on profitability were as production costs and area had a negative influence on profitability. Based on the results of the study production of smallholder cowpeas in Zambia was found to be profitable. The implications of these results were that more farmers should be encouraged to grow cov^eas not just for subsistence but for commercial production as well. Another recommendation was that value addition of cowpeas should be encouraged.