The impact of round potato commercialization on farmers’ income and environment in Tanzaniathe case of mbeya rural district

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University of Dar es Salaam
The round potato commercialization has increased technological adoption and market transactions efficiency. In Mbeya Rural District, commercialization of round potatoes has resulted in high rate of agriculture intensification. The main objective of this study was to investigate the impact of round potato commercialization on farmers’ income and environment in Mbeya Rural District. The district was chosen because it is one of the leading round potato producing areas in the country. A total of 130 farmers were selected randomly from two villages of Simambwe and Igoma for household survey to collect quantitative data while focus group discussions, key informant interviews and direct physical observation were used to collect qualitative data. Secondary data were obtained from published and unpublished materials from libraries and internets. Data were analysed using Statistical Package for Social Sciences and Microsoft excel. Marketing and Gross Margins were computed to determine income earnings across marketing chain players while Linear Regression model was applied to determine factors that affect farmers’ incomes. Results show that the average total household income earned/year was 4,552,593TZS and 53.1% of this contributed by round potato sales. The results show that village agents and retailers at farm gate received the lowest GM followed by farmers who received 133TZS/kg. A comparison across wholesalers shows that village wholesalers received 453TZS/kg compared to wholesalers in Mbeya (498TZS/kg) and Dar es Salaam (630TZS/kg). In terms of retailers, the village retailers received 74TZS/kg compared to retailers in Mbeya (197TZS/kg) and Dar es Salaam (279TZS/kg). The chips sellers received 769TZS/kg, 1257TZS/kg and 1610TZS/kg in village, Mbeya and Dar es Salaam, respectively. Overall, farmers received only 2.2% while village agents received 0.7% compared to retailers (9.2%), wholesalers (26.6%) and chips processors (61.3%). The findings suggest that GM increases as one moved from the village to the major markets signifying that if farmers could be well organized in groups and sell potatoes in Mbeya and Dar es Salaam their incomes could increase remarkably. Through regression analysis, the results showed that farmers’ incomes were statistically significant as determined by household size (P<0.05), quantity of round potatoes sold (P<0.001), selling price (P<0.001) and total production costs (P<0.001). Other factors such as education level, membership to association and land size were statistically not significant although had positive signs suggesting that they were important but not sufficient by themselves to determine farmers’ incomes. However, high income due to round potato has led to excessive agrochemical use and farm expansion in ecologically sensitive areas such as forests, hills and river banks. These have had adverse impact on the environment. It is recommended that, for market efficiency improvement there should be reduction of transaction costs and increasing bargaining power by facilitating farmers to sell their round potatoes in groups as well as providing market information. Also potato productivity should be enhanced by improving extension services and building capacity on value addition. For conserving the environment, agrochemicals should be reduced by promoting organic farming and internalising the cost of cleaning the polluted environment using polluter pays principle and other economic tools. There should be also proper monitoring of the pollution impact of round potato and polluters should be liable to the existing law
Available in print form, East Africana Collection, Dr. Wilbert Chagula Library, Class mark (THS EAF SB211.P8T34J63)
Potato growers, Economic aspects, Environmental aspects, Mbeya rural district, Tanzania
John, B.(2015) The impact of round potato commercialization on farmers’ income and environment in Tanzaniathe case of mbeya rural district, Master dissertation, University of Dar es Salaam, Dar es Salaam