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ISSN : 1225-8504(Print)
ISSN : 2287-8165(Online)
Journal of the Korean Society of International Agriculture Vol.35 No.4 pp.320-329

An analysis on the Determinants of Market Access for Small-scale Maize Farmers: The Case of Chemba in Tanzania

Tamko Daniel Ngumbuke, Dae Seob Lee†
Kangwon National University, Graduate School, Department of Agricultural and Resource Economics
Corresponding author (Phone) +82-33-250-8275 (E-mail)
October 17, 2023 November 30, 2023 November 30, 2023


The economy of Tanzania relies on agriculture as the main economic activity, because agriculture provides both food and income to the population of the country, especially the rural households. Improvement of market access to crops also increases the productivity. Therefore, in this study, descriptive statistics and statistical analysis of the probit model were used to analyze the factors that determine the market accessibility of small-scale farmers in Chemba, Tanzania. Cross-sectional data collected by the systematic sampling method for 200 corn peasants in Chemba, Tanzania were used. As a result of probit regression analysis, it was found that access to improved seeds and technology had a positive statistically significant effect on the accessibility to the market, while the age of the head of the household, production cost, distance to the market, and household size had a negative statistically significant effect. Therefore, in this study, policy establishment and implementation are recommended. A policy needs to be considered to reduce the transaction costs that eventually allows the farmers to increase the accessibility to markets, enables small-scale farmers to participate in cooperatives, lowers input costs and provides educational programs on quality products to increase their competitiveness in the marketplace.

소규모 옥수수 생산자의 시장 접근성 결정요인 분석: 탄자니아 켐바 (Chemba) 지역 사례연구

탐코 다니엘 응무부케, 이대섭†
강원대학교 대학원 농업자원경제학과



    The agricultural sector contributes 29.1% of Tanzania's GDP and the contribution is dominated by rural economy (MAFC, 2017). This is due to the availability of suitable land that occupies 44 million hectares of which approximately 10.8 million hectares are currently cultivated mainly under subsistence agriculture. Research shows that 65.5% of Tanzania's population is employed in the agriculture sector (MAFC, 2017), and 65% of the raw materials in the industrial sector and 30% of the export income are obtained from the agricultural sector. These roles make the agricultural sector to be the second largest contributor to the national economy after the service sector which accounts for approximately 44.3% (Chongela, 2015). Crops provide approximately 60% of dietary calories and more than 50% of functional protein for humans (Katinila et al., 1998). Also, approximately 50% of rural income per household has been obtained from maize production and exports (FAOSTAT, 2022), where the main buyer has been Kenya (Baffes, et al., 2015).

    Since maize contributes to a certain level of food security and a source of income for many Tanzanian households that live in rural areas, access to the maize market and the participation of households in the process of selling maize is expected to positively affect their well-being. However, the situation shows that many small-scale farmers do not have that knowledge in marketing and finance. Therefore, they cannot meet the quality standards of the market. This makes farmers unable to find a reliable and profitable market. Also, the inaccessibility of roads in all seasons and the lack of warehouses to store produce before selling contributes to the poor quality and quantity of products. Other important challenges include small-scale farming with land between 0.2 and 2.0 hectares, poor production technology, lack of markets, the price volatility of crops, and poor production infrastructure. These negative factors cause low level of production (MAFC, 2013). The government often supports subsidized inputs such as seeds, fertilizers, and chemicals. The problem is that inputs always don’t reach to small-scale farmers since they are weakened in many African countries due to small operating land, lack of investment and institutional support, and low production technology (Delgado et al., 1998).

    It is believed that plans to increase production and productivity in agriculture must be accompanied by a good marketing system that is easily accessible and meets the needs of consumers at a low cost between producers and consumer prices (Feyissa, 2009). Small-scale farmers can improve their livelihoods through a simplified marketing system and accessible infrastructure (Moe and Lee, 2021).

    The Tanzanian government has been implementing several policies, agendas, and reforms to deal with the sluggish growth and expansion of the agricultural sector. The Tanzania National Policy of 2013 provided a policy framework and made reforms to deal with the slowdown in the growth of the agriculture sector including the "KILIMO KWANZA-Agriculture first" reform which aimed to make agriculture the first priority for development. The agricultural policies are linked to the Comprehensive African Agricultural Development Program (CAADP), the African Union's plan to revive agricultural development in Africa through the New Partnership for African Development (NEPAD). This policy reform aims to create an enabling environment to ensure household food security, improve productivity in agriculture, profits, and farm income and reduce rural poverty by strengthening research and extension services for farmers, training of new methods targeting women and men individually to enable them to reach sufficient productivity levels and self-development, motivating graduates in fields related to agriculture to become professional farmers, and building relationships with farmers to strengthen the use of new agricultural technologies.

    Regardless of all these reforms and policy implementation, yet, the current agricultural sector in Tanzania is facing the challenge of an ineffective marketing system. A large number of small-scale farmers in rural areas receive high input costs and low prices of crops (Katinila et al., 1998). Also, there is no competitive price and uneven policy implementation does not make them achieve sustainable and integrated agricultural growth.

    Therefore, the main objective of the study is to analyze the determinants of access to the maize market for smallscale farmers, taking a consideration of a case into account, which is the Chemba District in Tanzania. The specific objectives of the study are to investigate the factors that affect the accessibility and to examine existing policies. Finally, the study makes policy recommendations based on its findings.


    In numerous studies, a market was defined as a place where the forces of demand and supply work, and where buyers and sellers interact directly or through intermediaries for the trade of goods and services, while market access is defined as the ability of a country/company/person to sell goods and services domestically or internationally or the situation where producers of certain products can sell their products to certain stores, such as organic markets, specialty markets, or fair trade markets through individual relationships or collectively through associations (Poulton, et al., 2016;Hazell, et. al., 2007;Htet and Lee, 2023). In the meantime, small-scale farmers are producers who need external assistance so that they can produce agricultural commodities properly. In Africa, most of them live in absolute poverty as they do subsistence farming with little productive land and limited resources that do not meet their basic needs. Therefore, this study considers smallscale farmers with less than 1 hectare of land size and farmers who cannot afford to purchase all required inputs and those who are operating in noncommercial purpose, hence they always engage in agriculture, but still in line with poverty.

    Small-scale farmers can enter and access the market as either traders or consumers. Thus, market participation and access has a demand side where households can participate in marketing as buyers and a supply side where households participate as traders. A study showed that the majority of small-scale farmers rarely have access to the market (Margaret, et al., 2015). The study concluded that there is a difference in reaching the output market between gender and age. The study further argued that households receiving extension services, credit, membership in groups, and transportation facilities, were more likely to access markets. In addition, one of the findings of the study was that the level of education, household size, age and marital status of the head of the household reduced market access. The study suggested that farmers could access the market by improving policies that promote associations, infrastructure development, and credit facilities as well as extension services especially for women and youth.

    In the meantime, the decision to enter the market as a seller or buyer is driven by the theory of optimization where the household seeks to increase consumption according to the financial budget and available non-tradable resources (Barrett, 2008). Based on the research on market participation, the study challenged to review the evidence and concepts of small-scale farmers’ market participation from eastern and southern Africa. The study suggested that relevant bodies could work on important things to motivate and persuade small farmers to engage in markets and break free from the trap of subsistence poverty by improving the organization of small farmers, reducing marketing costs, improving poor households and increasing access to better technology and productive assets. Likewise, a similar study using probit model and Cobb Douglas production function argued that the size of the farm, labor and yeild, elasticity of market access, farm experience, fertilizers, capital and association membership have a significant and positive influence on the possibility of farmers accessing the maize market and increasing productivity (Rangoato, 2018). The study finally recommended that farmers should be provided with market infrastructure and market information services and input subsidies to access the market and increase productivity. In addition, another study concluded that small-scale maize farmers in Tanzania had the ability to contribute to the country's economic growth if they participated fully in rural markets and if efforts were made to improve rural market practice to increase the value of maize and strengthen small-scale farmers (Ismail, 2020). This was based on the confirmation of the results of the binary logistic model which revealed that market practices significantly affect the decisions of small-scale maize farmers to participate in market services and enable small-scale farmers to sell in the market instead of farm gate deals with middlemen.

    Small-scale farmers are constrained by different factors that prevent them from finding a suitable market for their maize crops. Some limitations are associated with the market's description of transaction costs. Proportion costs (distance to market) and variables such as crop prices, farm size, labor force, membership of farmers' associations, and geographic location of households had a statistically significant influence on market participation (Mmbando, et. al., 2015;Ismail, 2014)). Using farm household-level data and following a two-stage decision-making process using Heckman's selection procedure, the results suggest that policies aimed at improving rural road infrastructure, market information systems, asset accumulations, humans capital, and promoting farmer cooperatives can reduce transaction costs and increase market participation and market supply for small- scale farmers. Some empirical study using three-year panel data and descriptive statistics in Kenya identified the constraints of market participants as small land size, low levels of literacy, value of less wealth, less ability to produce surplus and less access to credit (Olwande and Mathenge, 2010). Also, the study found that the size of the land and membership in the farmers' organization have a significant contribution to increase market access for poor households.

    Theoretical framework

    The study is based on the economic theory of marketing which states that “to increase/exploit sales, the company must place its products or services on the market in such a way that consumers believe they need a certain product or service or that the product or service they need has specific benefits. The theory includes some basic concepts that are important to be known by the smallholder farmer for the purpose of making productive commercial decisions, which include gathering market information to set the appropriate price, identifying important competitors, as well as knowing the amount to be sold, and the amount required. This theory refers to the placement of products or services in the market (creating an image or brand) that will ensure the product that consumers need has certain benefits, determining the price based on the cost of production and the level of expected profit through product channel marketing and internet marketing.

    The study targets at 8 villages of Chemba district in Tanzania by using the household survey data collected from 200 small-scale farmers from June to July, 2022. Chemba is one of the seven Districts found in Dodoma region in Tanzania. It was created in March 2013 being divided from Kondoa district. The district is bordered by Kondoa district to the north, Kiteto district of Manyara region to the east, Bahi and Chamwino of Dodoma region to the south, and Ikungi district of Singida region to the west. Chemba is approximately 110 kilometers from Dodoma city. It has a total area of 7,653 Km2, with a total of 925 thousand hectares of arable land and the cultivated area is about 222 thousand hectares, which is suitable for sunflower, maize, millet, peanuts, rice, sorghum, and beans, etc.

    Moreover, the market defined in the study area is a physical market in different villages within a district. A district is an administrative unit smaller than a province. Maize market in Chemba district is locally oriented. For a large quantity transaction, 16 common local markets in the district handle. All the local markets are situated in the district with at least easy accessibility throughout the year and security as well. These markets are organized and supervised by Chemba District Council. The 8 villages selected for sample collection are within the district where they all access these 16 local markets of Chemba Districts. So there is no much geographical distance from one market to another or no restriction exists because all markets are operated within one authority.

    Selection of sample size and data collection

    Sample selection is based on multi-stage sampling techniques. The first step involves in the selection of samples with intent/judgment or intent by choosing Chemba district (Palys, 2008). The second step involves in the selection of 8 villages that produces relatively large amount of maize based on the proportion and size method (PPS) to obtain a representative sample group.

    Data for the study are collected randomly using a survey questionnaire from small farmers, key informants, and group discussions in the Chemba District Council. 8 villages that have the capacity to produce maize and 200 farmers were randomly selected for interviews. The entire population of the district is about 235thousand and the selected 8 villages for the study are located near by each other. Therefore, the access to extension services and input supply chain and distance to market are very similar so that the differentiation of each village for the analysis is minimal. Thus, the study treated the 8 villages as one district.

    Economic Analysis

    The binary Probit model is used to analyze the effects of socioeconomic characteristics of small maize farmers on market access in Chemba. The outcome was market access which is a dummy variable predicting the outcome 1 if the respondent can access the market and 0 otherwise and 13 hypothesized models. The model allows the adjustment of dichotomous/binary outcome variables to predict the occurrence or non-occurrence of an event (Stephanie, 2016). For the study, it is a question about whether the small-scale farmers get accessibility to the market or not. It is used under the conditions of suggesting that the probability of dependent variables changes in a non-linear relationship with changes in the independent variable. The change ranges from 0 to 1. So farmers who have access to a market take a value of 1 while those who do not have market access take a value of 0. Therefore, the probability of the head of the household accessing the market would be given as follows:


    and that Yi = 1 if Y* > 0, Yi = 0 if otherwise. X1, X2, …, Xk represent the independent/explanatory variables where represents a coefficient vector of unknown parameters and μ represents the error term (Nagler, 1994).

    T h e n Y i = β 0 + β 1 G E N D E R + β 2 A G E + β 3 M A R I T A L + β 4 H H S I Z E + β 5 E D U + β 6 F R M E X P + β 7 E X T S E R V + β 8 I N P U T + β 9 P R D C O S T + β 10 D I S T M R K T + β 11 L A G P R I C E + β 12 P H V S + β 13 Q T Y O U T + μ


    The Table 3 and 4 summarize the general characteristics and profile of the study area. The collected sample shows that 62% of the farmers are under 50 years old while 38% of the farmers are over 50 years old. The study also shows that middle-aged youth between the ages of 31 and 50 are highly involved in agriculture. This may be due to the contribution of agriculture to the majority of Tanzanian. 76% of households from the study area is headed by male while only 24% is headed by female. Household size in many rural villages of many African countries is the main source of farm work. The descriptive results show that 62.5% of the households in the study area has a size of 1 to 5 members, where 37% has family members from 6 to 10 and only 0.5% has more than 10 members, so the results also suggest that the average size is 5 members per household. The results also show that the majority of the sample is married (78%), 14.5% is widows, 5% is divorced and only 2.5% of the people is in single in the study area.

    Results of the probit analysis

    An empirical analysis is conducted to analyze the factors that determine small-scale farmers to access the maize market using the binary probit model. The probability of farmers finding a market for their maize crop is estimated by the maximum likelihood method and the marginal effect was used to describe the results as probit coefficients. The chi-square likelihood ratio of 41.31 with a pvalue of 0.0001 indicates that the overall goodness of the probit model is statistically significant at the 1% probability level.


    For the analysis, the independent variables are treated in a stable order for the purpose of correcting heteroscedasticity. The analysis is followed by the estimation of the results of the selection equation to find the marginal effects. Marginal effects are important as they are used to interpret the results. In a non-linear model, the coefficients of the selection equation do not have a direct interpretation because they are only values that increase the likelihood function. Marginal effects have a direct interpretation (Heckman, 1979).

    The results show that the parameters of age, availability of quality seeds, production costs, the amount of maize output, distance to the market, and household size are found to have a statistically significant effect on market access for small-scale farmers by 1%, 5 %, and 10%, respectively. In addition, the availability of quality seeds, and the quantity of output produced had a positive influence while the age of the head of the household, the cost of production, the distance to the market, and the parameters of the household size had a statistically negative influence on the farmers' access to the market. Regarding the difference in age, the household head is a continuous variable that had a negative influence on farmers' access to the market but it is found to be statistically significant at the 1% level. The marginal coefficient value of -0.0052 shows that the farmer's age has a negative relationship with market access. The descriptive results show that 84% farmers with an average age of 47 years old could be able to access markets while farmers with an average age of 49 years old tends to have difficulty finding market accessibility. This means that an increase in the age by 1 year of small-scale farmers reduces the probability of the farmer accessing the market by 0.5% when all other factors are kept equal. According to Barrett (2008), young people have tendency to participate more in the market because they are friendlier to new concepts and willing to take risks than the elderly. If the farmers are too old, they would not easily compete and produce better and more products to meet market standards.

    Household size turned out to have a negative impact on farmers' access to markets at a 10% significant level. The impact indicates that an 1% increase in household size reduces the probability of accessing the market by 2.1% when other factors are held equal. This means that a household with a large number of people has less access to the market than households with a small number of people. This can be attributed to the fact that large households need a large amount of food for consumption, thus reducing the market surplus which decreases the amount of maize supplied to the market. Access to improved seeds is seen to have a positive and significant influence on farmers accessibility to the market. The effect shows that an increase of 1 unit of inputs used in the production process increases the probability of small-scale farmers’ accessibility by 14.5%. Thus, market accessibility would be better if farmers use improved seeds due to an increase in quantity of output produced.

    The production costs is an important variable as it determines the quantity of crops produced. The results of the analysis show that production costs had a negative influence on market access. This may be due to the fact that small-scale farmers in the study area could not find a market near the residential area. Thus, they find a physical market that is far from their production areas with unstable road conditions and other restrictions. In addition, smallscale producers in the study area do not have marketing knowledge, information, or suitable organizations. Therefore, farmers who spend higher production costs and have limited access to the market endure higher costs including purchasing inputs from the long distance sellers. Even they need to pay more for transportation and basic processing. In the mean time, since they do not have a specific market that focuses on particular products such as grains only, they share a common market with higher transaction costs.

    Distance to market is one of the determinants of smallscale farmers to access market in a sense that farmers of more distant households can incur more purchasing costs. In the study area, some of the small-scale farmers fail to reach market because they cannot afford the costs of transporting the produces to the collective physical market. Hence, they opt to consider selling to intermediaries at a lower price. In this study, distance to market is a continuous variable and measured in kilometers. The variable showed a negative effect on the farmer's access to the market at 1% significance level. The results show that the farther the farmers are from the market, the less likely they are to access the market. Descriptive results show that farmers with an average distance of 2km to the nearest market had better market access than farmers with an average distance of 3km to the nearest market. The marginal effects also suggest that an increase in 1km from home to market reduces the probability of a household accessing a market by 13.4% when all other factors are held equal. In addition, a decrease in agricultural productivity affects market access in a sense that the quality and the quantity of the produce determine their accessibility to the markets. This can be attributed by the fact that the furthest household’s farmers can experience more transaction costs.

    Constraints to market access for small-scale maize farmers

    Figure 1 represents the obstacles faced by small-scale maize farmers in the Chemba, Tanzania. The results show the constraints and the percentage of farmers who are facing such obstacles from the sample of the population interviewed. The results show that 35.5% of the farmers are constraining that they get a low price for their products due to the transactions with middlemen, and that they do not have the bargaining power to negotiate. They are always price takers so that the price taken by the farmers would or would not cover production costs. Moreover, 27% of farmers claimed about the price fluctuation that the price of maize is not stable and it affects the level of profit.

    Furthermore, lack of market information affected 22.5% of farmers in the study area. Small farmers needs information so that they can compete with other farmers for the same market. Small-scale farmers need information about business and market trends to be competitive in the market. Poor road infrastructure is proclaimed by 8% of the sample population. The high cost of transportation is caused by the lack of infrastructure and poor communication services in rural areas (Mthi and Nyangiwe, 2018). Small-scale maize farmers in the study area are scattered and far from agricultural markets, which results in long distance travel. This makes transportation costs high. The farmers also indicate that it is very expensive to hire transport to transport their products to the market, which causes many farmers to be unable to sell in the agricultural markets. Transportation costs are found to be the one of the most critical constraints for small-scale farmers as it also has a high frequency. Low production and poor quality of crops also have been obstacles. 2% of the people realizes that the small production makes them unable to meet the needs of the market. Also the poor quality of their products makes buyers (middlemen) hesitate to purchase from small-scale farmers. As a result, small-scale farmers cannot find the proper market. Additionally, storage equipment is limited by 0.5% of the farmers interviewed. Farmers are unable to store their products so that they have difficulties selling it at a higher price. The availability of storage increases the ability of farmers to sell their products and also to be able to negotiate (Bienabe and Sautier, 2004). Other challenges hindering farmers include distant markets 1.5%, lack of inputs 1.5%, and lack of cooperatives 0.5%.


    Farmers are constrained in that they always receive low prices for the products due to various reasons such as the lack of accessibility to the markets and information of the current market situations, price fluctuation, and poor infrastructure. In the study, the binary probit model is used to analyze the effects of socioeconomic characteristics of small-scale maize farmers on market access utilizing a case study. It turned out to have positive influential variables such as gender, education, farming experience, access to extension services, access to improved seeds, post-harvest and quantity of output. In the meantime, age, marital status, household size, costs of production and distance to market turned out to be negative impacts on the accessibility.

    Considering the findings, it has been appreciated that small-scale maize producers in Tanzania have a great impact on the economic development of the country. However inefficient marketing performance makes difficult for them to transform to commercialization since most of the sales at farm gates have come across at low prices which, in turn, the income of the farmers have been low. Based on the national agricultural policy of Tanzania, agriculture marketing becomes an important factor to stimulate production and productivity, so the supportive policy on production, storage, transportation, and processing is very important.

    This research indicates that small-scale maize producers in the study area are not meeting the quality standards of their crops, there is low enforcement of agricultural marketing guideline from the government. Moreover, there is poor organized market structures and marketing information system from primary, secondary and tertiary market. All these hinder them from reaching the reliable and beneficial markets.

    Therefore, the policy repercussions of the study recommends that farmers should be able to easily access market to enhance their income. Firstly, ensuring market infrastructure and providing marketing information services would minimize the transaction costs and increase market accessibility for the producers. Secondly, the productivity is very low, an average of 1.42ton/ha. This has been one of the obstacles for the market accessibility. This is because the farmers are not affordable to use high quality inputs such as certified seeds, fertilizers and chemical. They opt to use local seeds, which are not resistant to diseases and pests, and these low quality inputs have low production potential and have a poor response to climate change. The study recommends the government that farmers should engage in cooperatives so that they can improve their bargaining power in the market as to improve access to the markets as well.

    Additionally, the study suggests that much effort should be made at upgrading rural market practices to add value to the maize crop. This would also empower small-scale farmers as they would reduce exploitation which occurs when the trading activity is done at the farm gate, especially from brokers. It is also important to consider various training programs for producers, especially those related to increasing the quality of maize produced so as to have a viable gain over large-scale producers

    Finally, this study used cross-sectional data where the information used was only for a specific period of time. Therefore, further research should be conducted which could be capable to capture the trends of changes in market access overtime.

    적 요

    1. 탄자니아의 경제에서 농업이 차지하는 비중은 크며, 많은 인구의 주요 경제 활동 또한 농업이 대부분이다. 따라서 농업 은 국민들에게 식량과 소득을 제공하는 중요한 산업이다. 하 지만 탄자니아의 농업은 80% 이상이 소농으로 이루어져 시장 접근성이 저하되는 문제가 발생하고 있어 소농의 소득 증대가 정부의 우선과제로 설정되어 있다.

    2. 본 연구는 프로빗(probit) 모형을 활용한 통계분석을 이용 하여 탄자니아 켐바(Chemba) 지역의 소규모 생산자의 시장접 근성을 결정하는 요인을 분석하였다. 분석 자료는 탄자니아 켐 바 지역의 옥수수 소작농 200 농가를 대상으로 확보하였으며, 표본추출기법으로 보정한 횡단면자료를 사용하였다.

    3. 프로빗 회귀분석 결과 개량종자 및 생산량에 대한 접근 성은 통계적으로 유의한 양의 영향을 미치는 반면, 세대주의 연령, 생산비, 시장과의 거리, 가구 구성원의 수는 음의 영향 을 미치는 것으로 나타났다.

    4. 시장 접근성 강화를 위해 탄자니아 정부는 소농의 거래 비용을 감소시킬 수 있는 정책수립이 필요하며, 생산자는 시 장에서의 교섭력 강화를 위한 협동조합 구축 등 자체적인 노 력도 필요하다. 특히, 투입재 가격을 낮추고, 소농이 협동조합 에 참여할 수 있도록 정부의 지도와 시장에서의 경쟁력 강화 를 위한 품질관리에 대한 교육훈련 프로그램 제공도 고려할 수 있을 것이다.


    This research is supported by 2019 research grant from Kangwon National University.



    Descriptive statistics of the constraint faced by small-scale farmers.


    Sample size distribution interviewed by villages in Chemba, Tanzania.

    Hypothetical influential factors and description of the variables.

    Demographic characteristics.

    Summary statistics for continuous variables.

    Probit regression of socioeconomic characteristics.

    Note: <sup>*</sup><sup>*</sup><sup>*</sup> , <sup>*</sup><sup>*</sup> and <sup>*</sup> denotes the significant levels at 1% , 5% and 10%, respectively


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