Preprint Article Version 1 Preserved in Portico This version is not peer-reviewed

Over the Heads? Agricultural Expansion, Production and Marketing Experiences among Rural Farmers in Zambia

Version 1 : Received: 9 June 2021 / Approved: 9 June 2021 / Online: 9 June 2021 (21:53:53 CEST)

How to cite: Ndhlovu, H.; Manda, S. Over the Heads? Agricultural Expansion, Production and Marketing Experiences among Rural Farmers in Zambia. Preprints 2021, 2021060271 (doi: 10.20944/preprints202106.0271.v1). Ndhlovu, H.; Manda, S. Over the Heads? Agricultural Expansion, Production and Marketing Experiences among Rural Farmers in Zambia. Preprints 2021, 2021060271 (doi: 10.20944/preprints202106.0271.v1).

Abstract

The post-2007 crisis-induced an agricultural expansion across Africa, but local level production and marketing experiences remain understudied. This study assesses the dynamics of agricultural expansion and small-scale farmers’ experiences in rural Zambia. Using a mixed research design, data were drawn from surveys, multi-level interviews, group discussions policy reviews and observations. Results show an agriculture expansion among small-scale farmers is underway due to favourable climatic conditions, land, and water availability, enabled by state subsidies, and an emerging market in commercial and supermarket outlets. However, farmers encounter production and marketing challenges related to poor tenure security, late delivery of inputs, and low financing. They face low and fluctuating prices, poor infrastructure, including low levels of mechanisation necessary to expand the production. Overall, despite an agricultural and land-use expansion taking shape, actual benefits for real transformation are largely missing – and currently over their heads. An argument is made that whilst policy actors continue to impress farmers to organise themselves to maximise benefits of an agricultural expansion, actual processes on how farmers can achieve this are missing in policy and practice. This necessitates a focus on multi-level processes aimed at addressing production, storage and marketing dynamics within a progressive coordination arrangement that centralizes small producers. Until that is addressed, the prospects for local development and poverty reduction for small-scale farmers under an agricultural expansion will be slender but continue to centrally reside in the state efforts to create enabling local and community environment that addresses real challenges. Overall, this study helps to extend the debate on diverse processes shaping rural transformation in Zambia and across sub-Saharan Africa, including the role and importance of agricultural expansion.

Subject Areas

agricultural expansion; marketing; land-grabs; value-chains; Zambia

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