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‘Improved policies, investments vital in horticulture sector’

Posted in Horticulture

ZAMBIA - Indaba Agricultural Policy Research Institute (IAPRI) says improved policies and investments designed to enhance accessibility in high potential horticultural production areas are likely to encourage smallholder participation in the sector.

The research institute notes that the horticulture sector has continued to record a reduction due to low levels of participation by smallholder farmers and lack of market accessibility.

This is contained in the IAPRI’s working paper on, ‘Is smallholder horticulture the unfunded poverty reduction option in Zambia.

IAPRI says increased smallholder participation in the horticultural supply chains will help fight poverty among farmers, and also improve the urban supply of high quality fresh produce at competitive prices.

Currently, IAPRI says only about 21 percent of the smallholder households in Zambia participate in horticultural supply chains, and that new demand points could significantly supply response if they link effectively to the smallholder farm sector.

“In order to encourage smallholder participation in the horticultural sector and markets, policies and investments designed to improve accessibility in high potential horticultural production areas, namely those in proximity to urban markets, coupled with improved market information systems, could have important enabling impacts on horticultural market development in smallholder areas.

“These investments should be complemented with public extension support for horticultural production, with particular emphasis on pest management and improvements in the conditions of the traditional markets that smallholder farmers depend on,” the institute says.

IAPRI says enhancing conditions for smallholder participation in horticultural markets offers significant income earning opportunities much more than participation in maize markets, particularly for poor and land constrained farmers.

The institute says participation in horticultural markets appears to reduce the gender gap in rural household income, and that improved transportation and communication infrastructure will lower the costs of spatial arbitrage, which should also help to decrease localised price variability.

October 23, 2015; https://www.daily-mail.co.zm/?p=47736