Poverty, Gender, and Institutional Arrangements
5. Commercialization of Smallholder High-Value Horticultural Farming: Institutional Arrangements, Transaction Costs and a Cost-Benefit Analysis of Kenya’s Vegetable Producers
In recent years, in Africa as in other parts of the developing world, agricultural production systems and their participants have faced significant challenges in the face of changing economic, environmental, and sociopolitical backgrounds. Changing environmental conditions such as increasing unpredictability of weather patterns (extreme temperatures, and precipitation events) and declining productivity of land pose challenges to the agriculture dependent communities (Kirsten et al., 2009; Kristjanson et al., 2012). The globalization of agricultural economies presents farmers with opportunities as well as challenges. While free trade agreements have increased market access for some commodities, they might have negatively affected smallholders, who are forced to compete with both local producers as well as farmers from other countries (GoK, 2012). The globalization of markets has also brought new production and marketing regulations as well as new risks and uncertainties related to volatile global food prices, and financial crises among other global concerns. Consumer demand for traceability of produce to its origin is increasing in order to facilitate monitoring of food quality and safety (Jensen, 2006). Consumer preferences are also changing as income increases pair with rising demand for easy-to-cook food, thus influencing agricultural supply chains.
Marketing exchange arrangements between smallholders and commercial buyers of high-value produce have also been changing to take up the emerging opportunities as well as accommodate the evolving challenges to maintain...
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