Universiteit Gent Faculteit Landbouwkundige en Toegepaste Biologische Wetenschappen Vakgroep plantaardige productie




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Status of Agricultural Production and Marketing in Tanzania and Zambia




Introduction



In several Sub-Sahara African countries, and more in particular in Zambia and Tanzania, agriculture is considered as the lead sector of the economy, the engine of growth for the decade and beyond (sic; UN, 2001a). Therefore, the sector has to be transformed from a traditional subsistence one into a modern and commercial one (UN, 2001a; UN, 2001b; World Bank, 2000).


The low agricultural performance of some African countries can be partially attributed to external or unavoidable factors, including declining world prices for major export commodities, frequent drought and/or civil strife. But these do not explain everything. Since the early 1980s, there has been a growing consensus that various forms of institutional failure, particularly within the public sector, have been a central factor in Africa’s agricultural and more general economic stagnation or even decline. According to this view, African agriculture and agro-industry have been strongly and adversely affected by misguided macro-economic and pricing policies and by excessive government intervention in factor and commodity markets. These interventions, together with the imposition of inefficient, and frequently monopolistic, state-owned or state-sponsored processing and marketing organisation, are held to have undermined producer incentives and crowded out private sector development (Jaffee & Morton, 1995a; Kherallah et al. 2000; World Bank, 2000).


More recently, measures have been geared toward expanding the role of the private sector. Attention has been directed at improving the enabling environment for business (through legal and regulatory means), at reforms which strengthen domestic financial systems and at privatising selected public enterprises. Significant policy reforms are implemented in many African countries. But there is growing recognition that such reforms alone are unlikely to bring about the desired supply response from farmers, private traders and processors. This is leading both African governments and international donors to move towards more direct measures to promote private sector agribusiness development (World Bank, 2000).


Therefore this chapter will analyse both sides: agricultural production itself and the marketing and agribusiness environment for agricultural produce as these two sides are inextricably bound up with each other when one aims at increasing farm income. To increase farm income of small-scale farmers, an increase in production and productivity must go hand in hand with improved marketing facilities and development of the overall institutional context. Both sides are linked to each other in a feedback-like relationship and can boost each other. In what follows, bottlenecks occurring at both sides (production and marketing) will be identified and suggestions to remove the encountered bottlenecks will be given. The problem analysis described will apply to Zambia and Tanzania. Only when a topic or example typical for one of both countries is raised, the country will be mentioned explicitly. Recommendations will be written in italic to highlight and accentuate them.


Profile of Zambia



Zambia is a landlocked country of about 750,000 km2, most of which lies on a plateau ranging from 900 to 1,500 m above sea level (see Figure 3.1.). The population of 10.9 million (Africa Monitor Southern Africa, 2000), growing about 3.4% annually, has suffered a drastic decline in its living standards with a current GDP (Gross Domestic Product) of US$ 289.5 which decreased with 3.9% between 1992 and 1996. Around 82% of the rural population is classified as poor (i.e. under the poverty line). Population density is rather low (14,5 people per km2) but it is concentrated along main road network and ‘the line of rail’ (i.e. along the railway going from Livingstone up to Tanzania passing almost through Kasama, see also the map in Annex II).




Figure 3.1. Map of Zambia

(Source: http://www.lib.utexas.edu/maps/cia00/zambia_sm00.jpg)


The comprehensive programme of economic reform, on which the government embarked from 1991, has virtually eliminated market price controls and transformed Zambia into one of the most liberalised economies in Africa. But this happened not without cost, with deterioration in nearly every social sector. Nevertheless, it seems that Zambia now emerged from the most difficult stages of its economic transformation: in 1999 it achieved GDP growth of 2% (with a projected 3% for 2000), and is expected to achieve an annual GDP growth of 4 to 5% over the next decade with agriculture and tourism as the main engine of future growth (Africa Monitor Southern Africa, 2000b; ASIP, 2001; UN, 2001b).


Until 1975, Zambia’s economy was based on copper but as world prices for copper have fallen, the Government started to promote agriculture as alternative source for employment and foreign exchange and import substitution. Agriculture currently generates about 22% of GDP and provides livelihood for more than 50% of the population. The sector employs 67% of the labour force and is by far the main opportunity of income and employment for women who constitute 65% of the rural population. Zambia has abundant agricultural resources compared to population but the agricultural sector has been neglected in the past. Of the total arable land (420,000 km2), only 14% is cropped. Water bodies such as lakes and rivers are largely unexploited as only 11.8% of Zambia’s irrigation potential is utilised (Africa Monitor Southern Africa, 2000; ASIP, 2001; UN, 2001b).

Liberalisation and market reforms are the main thrust of agricultural policy in Zambia which emphasises government withdrawal from direct involvement in agricultural marketing and input supply, freeing prices, removing subsidies, privatising agro-parastatals, renting out and selling public storage facilities to the private sector and overall removal of constraints and distortions to international trade in farm products. Under this policy framework, the role of government is confined to policy formulation, legislation and development of sustainable market support services such as market information, extension, finance and infrastructure. In addition, government facilitates the maintaining of a food reserve to ensure national food security (UN, 2001b).


Under the policy framework of liberalisation, positive developments were recorded including an increase in outgrower and contract farming, crop diversification, changes in land management practices, increased private sector involvement in the provision of services (like input supply and output marketing), though some controls still have to be put in place. Several private companies and NGOs also got involved in organising farmers in self-owned groups, associations or primary cooperatives and despite international competition and low commodity prices, the agricultural sector became the major contributor to non-traditional earnings. Major export products are fresh flowers, vegetables, cotton, coffee, Soya beans, groundnuts, and wheat (UN, 2001b).


Profile of Tanzania



The United Republic of Tanzania, comprising of Mainland Tanzania and the islands Zanzibar and Pemba, occupies an area of 883,749 km2 on the east coast of Africa (EIU, 1998) (see Figure 3.2.). With the current GDP of US$ 265 per capita (1999), Tanzania is ranked among the poorest countries in Sub-Saharan Africa. The population of 32.8 million people (1999) is annually growing at about 2.4%. An estimated 60% of the population live in poverty in Tanzania, but rates are significantly higher for the population that lives in rural areas: approximately three times higher than in Dar Es Salaam and nearly twice as high as in other urban centres. Average cultivated areas per household are below 1 acre, and rural households spend an average of almost 30% of monetary income on food (Africa Monitor Southern Africa, 2000a; UN, 2001a; FAO, 2001; FAO statistical database; World Bank statistical database).


Tanzania is heavily dependent on agriculture. The rural population accounts for 74% of the total and agriculture absorbs 90 and 78% respectively of female and male rural labour force. Agriculture, forestry and fishing generated 49.1% of GDP (1998), compared to 15% for Sub-Saharan Africa as a whole, and 73% of all exports (EIU, 2000; FAO, 2001; FAO statistical database; UN, 2001a; World Bank statistical database).




Figure 3.2. Map of the United Republic of Tanzania

(Source: http://www.lib.utexas.edu/maps/cia00/tanzania_sm00.jpg)


From the mid-1960s until the mid-1980s, the Tanzanian Government followed policies characterised by central government intervention and ownership of economic resources. Over 400 parastatals were created. Efforts and expenditures were focused on ‘directed’ (i.e. government initiated) social development, including collectivisation of rural population (Ujamaa). Although relatively high rates of GDP growth were initially achieved, growth later faltered causing steep declines in per capita GDP, deterioration in social sectors and inflation (EIU, 1998; FAO, 2001; UN, 2001a).


With the support of the World Bank and IMF, Tanzania introduced major social and economic reforms in 1986, including initial steps towards the liberalisation of the agricultural marketing system. Macro-economic fundamentals were improved by these measures but economic growth, which initially responded well, has been insufficient to significantly improve living standards or per capita GDP over the last decade (UN, 2001a; FAO, 2001).


On the domestic front, Tanzania faces a number of constraints and challenges. These include poor record on a number of social indicators like the Human Development Index (HDI), wide-spread poverty and increasing income inequality, HIV/AIDS, low domestic resource mobilisation, low level of unsupportive development of basic infrastructure, overwhelming supply side constraints (low productivity in agriculture and low level of human resources development) and environmental degradation (UN, 2001a; FAO, 2001).


Externally, the debt overhang remains a serious constraint. Debt servicing obligations diverted the much-needed resources for enhancing economic growth and improving delivery of social services (UN, 2001a; FAO, 2001).

Definition Small-scale Farmer



In Tanzania, smallholders typically grow 1 to 5 hectares while large-scale commercial farms average 20 hectares (Limbu, 1999).


Zambian Government divides farmers into three categories:

  • commercial farmers who cultivate more than 10 ha of land (with large-scale farmers cultivating more than 40 ha). Their farms are generally located in high potential areas close to the line of rail with a high concentration in Lusaka and Central Provinces;

  • emergent farmers are farmers who have already established market linkages and cultivate between 5 an 10 ha of land. The majority is located in Southern, Central, Lusaka and Eastern Provinces. A portion of them are retirees or retrenched government workers who have used their redundancy package to start farming. What is interesting is that in spite of the larger area under production and greater access to farm inputs, a significant portion of these farmers (possibly between 20 and 30%) has income levels which place them below the poverty line;

  • smallholder farmers who have access to less than 5 ha of land and generally cultivate 2 to 3 ha, typically using only family and communal labour and no oxen or mechanised implements for cultivation. The major part of food production is used for home consumption. Smallholder farmers constitute about 75% of all farm households. About a quarter of them are female headed (widows or divorced) (IFAD, 2000b).


In this study, the term ‘smallholder’ or ‘small-scale farmer’ will be defined as a farmer who cultivates up to 5 ha of land, growing food crops and if any, cash crops, using primarily family (and communal) labour. The major part of food crop production is consumed by the farm household.


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