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ISHS Acta Horticulturae 1128: XXIX International Horticultural Congress on Horticulture: Sustaining Lives, Livelihoods and Landscapes (IHC2014): International Symposium on Horticulture in Developing Countries and World Food Production

The dynamics of smallholders' participation in the commercialization of high-value horticultural crops: a case of vegetable producers in Kenya

Authors:   B.W. Muriithi, J. von Braun, J.A. Matz, D. Virchow
Keywords:   high-value horticulture, commercialization dynamics, smallholders, Kenya
DOI:   10.17660/ActaHortic.2016.1128.40
Abstract:
The high-value horticultural markets in Kenya were for a long time one of the best examples of how smallholders are able to participate in globalized food-market systems. However, participation of smallholders in these markets seems to have been declining over the recent past. This study exploits panel data of households from selected vegetable-producing regions in Kenya, in order to examine the dynamics of smallholders' participation in the commercialization of high-value vegetable crops. Results show that the number of smallholders participating in commercialization of vegetables is indeed declining. Key constraints are related to high costs of production, low and fluctuating market prices, stringent market regulations and insufficient water for irrigation. Farmers exiting from vegetable markets have significantly older household heads and they own less agricultural assets and livestock than farmers who continue to engage in the commercial production of vegetables. Policy interventions should focus on promoting the development of marketing infrastructure and institutional support for smallholders to be able to commercialize through export and domestic market channels.

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