KELLY NJOMBO, Lusaka
ZAMBIA lacks price information systems to facilitate the development of the small-holder horticultural supply chains, the Indaba Agricultural Policy Research Institute (IAPRI) has said.
IAPRI highlights the main challenge in supplying information systems among small-holder horticultural suppliers is due to the price generation and dissemination schemes which need to be cost-effective and sustainable.
This is contained in IAPRIâ€™s working paper on â€˜Can Horticultural Market Agents Play a Role in the Development of Cost-Effective and Sustainable Price Information Systems?â€™.
The institute observes the need to enhance the availability of price information systems to facilitate the development of small-holder horticultural supply chains in the country.
â€œThere is no doubt that availability of price information is important to facilitate the development of the small-holder horticultural supply chains in Zambia.
â€œThe system should not be over-reliant on donor or government funding except when it is seed funding during the initial stages of development,â€ IAPRI says.
IAPRI cites market agents or brokers as some of the critical players in the role of market information generation and dissemination through training and sensitisation in the system fundamentals.
â€œThe availability of price information can significantly increase small-holder farmer transactions and sales, as well as planning of production and marketing of horticultural produce,â€ the report reads.
The institute says stakeholders need to develop the price information system further to cover more markets and involve the private sector in a quest to develop and implement a sustainable business model.
â€œThe development of sustainable horticultural price information will go a long way in facilitating the development of small-holder supply chains even in the absence of well-developed and functioning horticultural wholesale markets,â€ IAPRI says.
The institute says structures can be built and managed under private-public partnerships arrangements along the line of successful systems from other countries in the region such as South Africa and less sophisticated ones such as Mozambique.
â€˜Small-holder horticultural sector lacks pricing i nfoâ€™
KELLY NJOMBO, Lusaka