An analysis of the impact of contract farming on smallholding farming as a mechanism for value chain efficiency enhancement : the case of Mashonaland central province (Zimbabwe) smallholder tobacco farmers
Thesis (MDF)--Stellenbosch University, 2012.
ENGLISH ABSTRACT: This research study has examined the impact of contract farming on enhancing efficiencies with the agricultural value chain for smallholder tobacco farmers in Mashonaland Central Province in Zimbabwe. The major challenges facing smallholder farmers in Africa in general and Zimbabwe in particular relate to financial constraints, technical expertise and market access. Contract farming as a transactions-cost-focussed-model is considered more effectively responsive to those challenges than the pure market approach which insufficiently addresses the impact of information asymmetries, bounded rationality, uncertainty, governance challenges and infrastructure challenges, among others. It allows for closely monitored smallholder financing by agribusiness entities which reduces or eliminates the probability of loan default. Contract farming is seen as an important mechanism in transforming the fragmented, subsistence agriculture in rural Africa into high commercialised and viable business undertakings. In this study, extensive reference is made to literature on agriculture financing; empirical research data on smallholder productivity and loan recoverability is drawn and analysed using the quantitative research methodology. The analysis sought to test for relationships among a set of variables and in the process examined the impact of contract farming. A comparative analysis of national data on the contract and auction system of tobacco marketing was done with emphasis on production and sales volumes, crop quality, price stability and market access. The results from the quantitative analysis of farmer-level and country-level data indicated a strong correlation between smallholder farmer production, productivity and loan recoverability and contract farming value chain intervention mechanisms.