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Abstract

The annual “windshield survey” to capture the perceptions and expectations of small-scale farmers and traders on harvests and marketing was carried out by SIMA in May 2007. Based on driving the routes in the main production areas early in the marketing season, convenience sampling was used to interview 199 traders and farmers along three routes. There are seven main findings: 1) late and excessive rains in most areas of production delayed the 2006/07 marketing season; 2) traders expect prices to increase somewhat, but not dramatically; 3) transport infrastructure has improved suggesting that the program of rehabilitation of transport and communication infrastructure has made progress with noticeable positive impact on marketing development; 4) cell phone network expansion has contributed to improved efficiency in the market network, but more is needed; 5) limited access to information through radio, due to lack of broadcasting information through this means; 6) farmers indicated a preference for scales as the measurement instrument for sales, and it is the large-scale buyers in the market system who are using them, introducing greater transparency and competitiveness; and finally 7) campaigns about HIV/AIDS and its prevention have reached many traders, but with new traders entering, the campaigns are still needed.

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