Improving Participation in Agricultural Commodity Markets for Smallholder Sweet Potato Farmers in Kenya: Assessing Growth Opportunities for Women in Rachuonyo District

 

Improving Participation in Agricultural Commodity Markets for Smallholder Sweet Potato Farmers in Kenya: Assessing Growth Opportunities for Women in Rachuonyo District

Author(s): John Olwande, Lilian Kirimi, Mary Mathenge, Judith Oduol, Dagmar Mithöfer, and Frank Place*

Date: October, 2013

Introduction:

Agricultural growth is fundamental to broader economic growth and to successful poverty reduction in sub-Saharan Africa, where high concentration of the poor population is in agriculture sector and where smallholder farmers constitute majority of the agricultural and rural population. A key ingredient to this growth is better access to markets.  While market failure is a major constraint to many smallholder farmers, the effects are compounded for marginalized groups such as women, the poor and producers in areas with low agricultural potential (agriculturally less favored areas) because of their circumstances. Addressing the challenges faced by the marginalized groups in accessing agricultural markets remains a necessary priority in efforts to foster broad-based agricultural growth, and thereby contribute towards poverty reduction. This study sought to identify critical challenges that need to be addressed and assess growth opportunities that could be exploited to improve access to and participation by women smallholders in agricultural markets along the sweet potato value chain. The study site was Kabondo Division, Rachuonyo South District, Homa Bay County, the leading sweet potato production area in Kenya.

 Improving Participation in Agricultural Commodity Markets for Smallholder Sweet Potato Farmers in Kenya: Assessing Growth Opportunities for Women in Rachuonyo District