The Market Orientation of South African Smallholder Farmers in a Disaster Context
Market-orientation is widely applied to envisage the interaction of smallholder farmers with both input and output markets. Commonly used in the market participation discourse, it is fast becoming a key milestone towards smallholder commercialization. This study introduces the term into the disaster, resilience, seed systems, food security and livelihoods context. Using a mixed methods approach, 120 smallholder farmers in a drought-affected district of South Africa were sampled, and information collected for analysis. The result shows that most of the farmers rely on purchased seeds and fertilizers for crop production, and on average sold 62% of their farm produce. A market orientation index (MOI) of 55% was estimated, showing that the farmers were market oriented. The farm size (0.004), quantities of seeds (0.007) and fertilizer (0.024) purchased, value of crop produced (0.043), amount received from crop sales (0.001), distance to markets (0.048) and access to credit (0.034) were found significant in determining their market orientation. Policy recommendations were made to improve access to irrigation, seed varieties and extension delivery in the area. The finding has implications for development efforts at rebuilding after a natural disaster, developing resilience as well as sourcing food aid from local smallholder farmers by humanitarian agencies.
commercialization index, disaster, resilience, seeds system
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