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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.

Suggested Citation

  • Chapoto, Antony & Haggblade, Steven & Hichaambwa, Munguzwe & Kabwe, Stephen & Longabaugh, Steven & Sitko, Nicholas & Tschirley, David L., 2013. "Institutional Models for Accelerating Agricultural Commercialization: Evidence from Maize, Cotton and Horticulture," Food Security Collaborative Policy Briefs 154940, Michigan State University, Department of Agricultural, Food, and Resource Economics.
  • Handle: RePEc:ags:midcpb:154940
    DOI: 10.22004/ag.econ.154940
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    File URL: https://ageconsearch.umn.edu/record/154940/files/ps_60_rev.pdf
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    References listed on IDEAS

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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 118476, Michigan State University, Department of Agricultural, Food, and Resource Economics.
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    1. Sitko, Nicholas J. & Jayne, T.S., 2014. "Structural transformation or elite land capture? The growth of “emergent” farmers in Zambia," Food Policy, Elsevier, vol. 48(C), pages 194-202.
    2. Bagchi, Niladri Sekhar & Mishra, Pulak & Behera, Bhagirath, 2021. "Value chain development for linking land-constrained farmers to markets: Experience from two selected villages of West Bengal, India," Land Use Policy, Elsevier, vol. 104(C).
    3. Hichaambwa, Munguzwe & Jayne, T. S., 2014. "Poverty Reduction Potential of Increasing Smallholder Access to Land," Food Security Collaborative Working Papers 171873, Michigan State University, Department of Agricultural, Food, and Resource Economics.
    4. Bart Minten & Belay Mohammed & Seneshaw Tamru, 2020. "Emerging Medium-Scale Tenant Farming, Gig Economies, and the COVID-19 Disruption: The Case of Commercial Vegetable Clusters in Ethiopia," The European Journal of Development Research, Palgrave Macmillan;European Association of Development Research and Training Institutes (EADI), vol. 32(5), pages 1402-1429, December.

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