Revitalizing Zambia’s Agricultural Marketing Information Centre (Amic)

1. Public sector agricultural market information systems (MIS) can provide useful information to farmers, uninformed traders, and policy makers. While private information networks offer a valuable service to select clients, only a well-functioning public MIS can redress information asymmetries among marketing actors that can inhibit competition. 2. The second core mission of a public MIS should be to organize and manage data in such a way that government decision-makers and civil society organizations can accurately diagnose and even anticipate emerging market problems and respond to them in a timely manner. 3. Zambia’s AMIC suffers from a range of weaknesses all along the supply chain for price information. Data collection and transmission is irregular and unreliable, data management is unstructured and lacks strategic oversight, and dissemination is entirely supply-driven. 4. The primary reasons for AMIC’s weak performance are competing priorities and a misguided incentive structure for staff at the national, provincial, and most importantly at the district level, where the viability of the collection process depends on reciprocity between price collectors and traders. 5. The draft Agricultural Marketing Act, which will be sent to Parliament in the 2012 budget cycle, provides an opportunity to re-establish AMIC’s mission and importance.

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Policy Synthesis

 Record created 2017-04-01, last modified 2019-08-26

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