Universiteit Gent Faculteit Landbouwkundige en Toegepaste Biologische Wetenschappen Vakgroep plantaardige productie




НазваниеUniversiteit Gent Faculteit Landbouwkundige en Toegepaste Biologische Wetenschappen Vakgroep plantaardige productie
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Infrastructure


(Jaffee & Morton, 1995b; Limbu, 1999; Temu & Due, 1998; Van Damme, 1998, van Engelen, 2000)


One of the major constraints for commercialisation of agriculture and market development is the lack of infrastructure, both on- and off-farm.


On-farm



There is a lack of adequate storage facilities. Maize is dried and stored in the hut or in special structures where it can be kept for several months. Families often sell part of their maize to a mill where it is ground and stored. Maize is usually sold by farmers right after harvest, when prices and thus returns on labour and investment are low. In bad years, farmers even have to buy it back at higher prices when their stocks are finished during the tiding-over period. Cassava is less of a problem as it is not harvested before it can be consumed. It is thus kept in the soil but pest and disease problems can arise.


Vegetables (like tomatoes, cabbages, or eggplants) and fruits are particularly vulnerable to rotting once they are harvested, whereas there often are no facilities nor technology to store or transform/process them (although, in some countries tomatoes are dried). The same applies for meat and dairy products. Processing could increase farm income as products could be sold at comparatively higher prices and at other periods than at harvest (when prices are low). Processing would also alleviate some of the problems linked to fresh product storage.


Marketing of (a part) of the harvest is hampered by lack of phones and other means of communication. The situation is even aggravated by the lack of off-farm infrastructure and market facilities, including market information on volumes and prices.


Farms also lack fencing or else the quality of fencing is so poor that stray domestic and wild animals damage crops. Fences are destroyed by animals, stolen and not replaced due to lack of money.


Farmers lack farm implements and good farm roads. Few farmers own their own farm implements and most of them are hand-operated. A study of Limbu (1999) showed that in Tanzania for example, out of ten smallholders, all own a hand hoe, eight own an axe, eight a big knife (machete), five a grinding stone and one owned a plough. Draught animals are mostly absent due to diseases or lack of investment capital. Other constraining factors for utilisation of animal draught power are: inadequate promotion, extension and training, competing demands for livestock products, environmental factors, lack of affordable veterinary services, low power capacities of animals due to type of breed or poor nutrition, social tradition together with gender issues.


Seasonal water shortages and sometimes flooding cause yield uncertainty and all too often crops fail. As in most tropical areas, rainfall in Tanzania and Zambia is an unreliable source of water. Water management practices are not applied, nor has the irrigation potential been fully investigated and/or developed. Especially in Zambia there is a large potential which is basically left untapped.


Off-farm



Off-farm infrastructure could be improved through provision of better, easier, cheaper and numerous connections to other areas, particularly urban areas, where inputs could be purchased and produce marketed. Bad and underdeveloped roads isolate communities and prevent access to a wider range of goods and services. On the other side, they cause substantial risks for traders and private processors who incur considerable costs and face more general constraints in market development. The cost of transport is an important aspect for the competitiveness on the major domestic and export market. It determines whether a crop can compete with the same crop on markets further away from the production area. Prices for transport vary according to the condition of the roads. To give an example (from van Engelen, 2000): it will cost a trader around Tsh 800,000 to hire a 40 ton lorry from Isaka to Dar Es Salaam (1,100 km) compared to Tsh 300,000 for the same lorry from Mbeya to Dar Es Salaam (900 km). With bad roads, the traffic police can always find something wrong with the truck and make the drivers pay between Tsh 5,000 and 10,000 to be allowed to continue till the next traffic police post (Jaffee and Morton, 1995b; Van Damme, 1998).

A way to reduce transport costs could be through grouping of cargo and better planning of transport. Companies with long distance buses have their offices and employees who try to get customers. Similarly freight forwarding offices for cargo could be organised. Lorries going one direction give an estimated time when they are coming back empty. The broker tries to get cargo for his return trip. This would enable people to transport smaller consignments at affordable prices. The freight forwarding offices could take a commission and could be operated by farmer groups themselves when the latter are well organised.


Rail transport in Tanzania is used only in a limited way because transport has to be paid in cash in advance (as opposed to most truck drivers accepting payment at destination) and goods have to be brought to the station with lorries, loaded at the station of departure and off-loaded at the end station where loaded again on a lorry for final destination. This extra handling increase prices in comparison to truck transport (Jaffee and Morton, 1995b; Van Damme, 1998; van Engelen, 2000).


Limited telephone services and congested mail services are likely to impede long-distance trade and raise trader transaction costs by necessitating alternative, more expensive communication methods or more frequent direct visits to producing areas and markets. Communication bottlenecks also hinder the responsiveness of traders to new market opportunities and changes in trade partner requirements (Jaffee and Morton, 1995b; Van Damme, 1998; van Engelen, 2000).


Another infrastuctural bottleneck is the lack of physical adequate market facilities (places and times where people come together to buy and sell) in rural areas so traders are not coming to these areas to buy produce. Markets do not spring up spontaneously but need to be created and organised. Costs are likely to be minimal and by making market centres broadly available to farmers (through public investment), farm productivity would improve because distance from market centres reduces farm yields (Evenson & Germano; 2001). Currently, most surplus produce is sold from home and/or from a road if any is present. Market places and corresponding facilities (storage, transportation, etc.) are imperative in promoting trade in both agricultural and non-agricultural commodities, in input and output products.


Lack of rural electrification and water supply/sanitation facilities place constraints on where processing and storage activities can be located, or also necessitates additional investment in power generators and sanitation facilities. The latter is important when high-value food commodities for export are involved because these have to fulfil quality and hygienic standards as can be seen from the example of Agriflora (Zambia) in Box 3.1. (Jaffee and Morton, 1995b; Van Damme, 1998; van Engelen, 2000).


Box 3.1. Collection and grading by Agriflora, Zambia

Agriflora in Zambia, a company exporting fresh vegetables, was setting up grading activities at the peri-urban/rural collection points to save time at the factory and to create more transparency in grading towards the farmers. Therefore, the collection points that until now only consisted of a refrigerated container, had to be provided with running water and toilet facilities to meet hygienic standards.

(Source: personal communication from Jacob Mwale, Project Manager Smallholder Cooperative Scheme Agriflora, Zambia 2001)


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