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Abstract

Daily quantities of tomato, rape and onion entering Soweto market in Lusaka fluctuate dramatically. The market does a remarkable job of moderating the impact on prices of these unstable quantities, through stabilizing mechanisms such as short-term storage of tomato and rape by traders and consumers, longer-term storage of onion by traders, direct sourcing of rape from farm areas by retail traders, and exportation of tomato and onion outside Lusaka. Yet even with these stabilizing mechanisms, wholesale prices are highly variable, with negative effects on farmers and consumers. Reducing variability requires investments in four areas: (a) improved control of production environments by farmers through irrigation, better access to inputs and greater agronomic knowledge, (b) improved vertical flow of information from farmers to traders to brokers to retailers, (c) a regulatory framework for broker activity to improve trust and information flow between brokers and sellers, and (d) improved market infrastructure.

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