Smallholder farmers in Ekurhuleni : the challenges and constraints of access to agricultural markets
Thesis (MDF)--Stellenbosch University, 2014.
ENGLISH ABSTRACT: There is substantial evidence supported by literature that many smallholder farmers can benefit from agricultural markets and commercialisation. This research examines the challenges and constraints that smallholder farmers have to deal with in the study area and what needs to be done to overcome the barriers to market access. An argument was made that identification of these barriers could lead to the necessary interventions and assist in institutional innovation to alleviate market constraints and challenges faced by smallholder farmers. The qualitative approach was deemed appropriate and entailed the face to face method in the collection of data through the use of structured questionnaires. Smallholder farmers in Tembisa, involved in the production and marketing of specific agricultural commodities were visited to investigate the challenges and constraints facing them. The Ekurhuleni Metropolitan Municipality’s database of smallholder farmers was used to access the smallholder farmers involved in the production of selected vegetables in Tembisa. The study revealed that access to land, access to agricultural inputs, access to credit, market information, infrastructure and farmer support services were barriers to market participation. The lack or limited access to these resources will affect the manner in which smallholder farmers benefit from the opportunities available in the agricultural markets in respect of the quality and quantity of the agricultural produce. Whilst the fresh produce market and supermarkets in the area have extended a hand of cooperation and business relationship with smallholder farmers, there is currently no formal existing relationship since they are unable to exploit those opportunities due to their inability to comply with the required standards set by the market. Most of their produce is sold at the farm gate, local community and to the hawkers. It is expected that addressing such barriers may create enabling conditions that would encourage smallholder farmers to access and participate more effectively in markets. Such efforts could improve the ability of smallholder farmers to become part of the mainstream or commercial agricultural economy. Some barriers and constraints require direct intervention by government and policy makers have to institute agricultural policy reforms to incorporate smallholder farmers within large scale agriculture.