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Institutional Models for Accelerating Agricultural Commercialization: Evidence from Maize, Cotton and Horticulture

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  • Chapoto, Antony
  • Haggblade, Steven
  • Hichaambwa, Munguzwe
  • Kabwe, Stephen
  • Longabaugh, Steven
  • Sitko, Nicholas
  • Tschirley, David L.

Abstract

Although a majority of Zambians work in agriculture, only a small minority of smallholders succeed in transitioning to high-productivity, high-value commercial agriculture. Only 20% of cotton farmers and less than 5% of maize and horticulture farmers succeed as top-tier commercial growers (Table 1). By tracing the long-term agricultural trajectories of successful commercial cotton, maize and horticulture farmers, this study identifies two broad agricultural pathways out of poverty. The low road, exemplified by cotton production, involves a two-generation transition via low-value but with well-structured markets. The more restrictive high road, epitomized by horticulture production, offers a steeper ascent, enabling prosperity within a single generation, but requires commensurately higher levels of financing, management and risk. Personal characteristics that define successful commercial smallholders include: • strict discipline; • treatment of farming as a business; • good management of crop production, labor and finances; • a strong propensity to save; and • willingness to invest in their children’s education. Key institutions affecting smallholder performance include: • management and marketing support provided by the cotton companies to their contract farmers; • land allocation systems, particularly those permitting land consolidation in communal areas and smallholder transitions to farm blocks in state lands; • savings systems (both financial and livestock-based) that permit successful smallholders to rebound from period shocks.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by Michigan State University, Department of Agricultural, Food, and Resource Economics in its series Food Security Collaborative Policy Briefs with number 154940.

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Date of creation: May 2013
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Handle: RePEc:ags:midcpb:154940

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Keywords: Agricultural and Food Policy;

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  1. Jayne, Thomas S. & Mason, Nicole M. & Burke, William J. & Shipekesa, Arthur M. & Chapoto, Antony & Kabaghe, Chance, 2011. "Mountains of Maize, Persistent Poverty," Food Security Collaborative Policy Briefs, Michigan State University, Department of Agricultural, Food, and Resource Economics 118476, Michigan State University, Department of Agricultural, Food, and Resource Economics.
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