Improving the Viability of Smallholder Market-Gardening Farmers in Zimbabwe: The Case of Mutoko Smallholder Farmers
by Open Science Repository Agriculture
This study was carried out to establish ways of improving the viability of smallholder farmers in Mutoko District in Mashonaland Central province of Zimbaabwe. This was motivated by the observation that every year the smallholder farmers would produce and sell just enough vegetables and fruits to enable them to survive for a year with very little if any improvement in the farmers’ quality of life. Questionnaires were distributed among the sampled farmers and interviews were held with all other stakeholders who work with the farmers. Results showed that the farmers were producing far less in quantity of vegetables than the average expected yields from the district. The marketing strategies used by the farmers were found to be flawed as the farmers could not determine the prices for their commodities. The prices were determined by unscrupulous middlemen who forcibly bought the farmers’ product and later sold the product to the consumers at a higher price. Further to that the farmers were not keeping any records to show whether they had made a profit or not. The study recommends four strategies that could be used to improve viability of the farmers. The first proposal is to process the vegetables within the district to add value to the products before marketing. Secondly it is proposed that farmers could embark on contract farming to assure the farmers of a ready market for their produce. The third proposal is to enable the farmers to access financial support through loans so as to improve their activities. The last proposal is that intensive research be done so as to enable development that will ensure that farmers produce their crops economically and market them prudently to ensure that their quality of life improves as a result of their farming activities.Keywords:
smallholder farmers, market gardening, sustainable farming, vegetable marketing.
Full textImproving the Viability of Smallholder Market-Gardening Farmers in Zimbabwe: The Case of Mutoko Smallholder Farmers
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