Determinants of the competitiveness of smallholder African indigenous vegetable farmers in high-value agro-food chains in Kenya: A multivariate probit regression analysis
This study (PDF) in the Agricultural and Food Economic journals aims at determining the main role of households’ capitals, institutional, and access-related factors in conditioning the decision of smallholder farmers of African indigenous vegetables (AIVs) to access pillars of competitiveness in high-value market chains (HVMCs). Smallholder farmers are excluded from efficient and effective participation in high-value agro-food market chains due to major competitiveness constraints and several market failures along these chains. The results suggest that about two thirds of smallholder AIV farmers had access to at least one pillar of competitiveness in HVMCs. The model results show the presence of inter-dependency of household level decisions to access multiple pillars of competitiveness in HVMCs. Furthermore, coping with shocks, coupled with access to information on market prices and warnings of unexpected events, contract farming, certification and modern irrigation technologies are the main conditioning factors to the access of the pillars of competitiveness by smallholder farmers. A policy recommendation is that the promotion and implementation of a well-founded mobile phone-based information access platforms, to enable smallholder farmers to easily access real-time information and banking services, is of critical importance towards overcoming the major competitiveness constraints along high-value agro-food chains. Furthermore, access to the price information, institutions and relevant resources would lead to an increase in the number of smallholder farmers accessing pillars of competitiveness. Finally, the importance of accessing contract farming and certification in smallholder farmers’ decisions to access pillars of competitiveness suggests that there is a need for policies that support farmers securing direct supply contracts from HVMCs.