Opportunities and Challenges of Vegetable Marketing in Kilte-Awlaelo Woreda
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The study was conducted in selected major vegetable producing Tabias of Klite- Awlaelo woreda namely Genfel, Mesanu, A/ksanded, and Aynalem. The study aims at assessing the major constraints and opportunities to improve vegetable production and marketing. The data collection was conducted in October 2007. A survey was conducted using structured interview schedule to collect primary data from 162 vegetables producers and 30 officials of the woreda and cooperatives. Different types of vegetables are grown in the study area under irrigated conditions. The most commonly grown vegetables in terms of the number of growers are potato, cabbage, onion, carrot and tomato. Onion, potato and tomato which are the major vegetables cultivated in the woreda were considered for the study. House holds uses family labour for land preparation, planting, cultivation, weeding, irrigation, fertilizer application, pesticides application, harvesting and transporting of the products to the market. Farmers in the study area used organic manure to improve the production of vegetables. Vegetables are produced in some specific locations in the eastern part of Tigray and supplied to the local markets. The major markets identified for collection and distribution of large quantities of vegetables are at Wukro and Mekelle. The market actors namely producers, collectors, brokers, transporters, traders, and consumers play different roles along the market chain. Most producers in the study area are intending to expand vegetable production. The most commonly mentioned opportunities are related to market demand, proximity to the market, better price, irrigation facility and government support. The constraints of vegetable production viewed from the farmers’ perspective are: institutional factors, natural factors and transportation related factors. Inadequate farmer skills and knowledge of production, product management and attack of pests and diseases are the most common constraints of vegetable production. In cash crop production, households decide which cash crop(s) to grow and at which market(s) to sell their crop harvests. Different market outlets that households may consider are selling at the farm-gate, selling at a local market or selling at a central market. Chi-square model was used to examine the interaction between crop and market outlet choices in the study area. The result shows the existence of statistical evidence that market outlet choice and quantity produced with respect to Potato, Onion and Tomato are associated. Vegetable production is increasing from time to time in the woreda. The output and productivity of vegetables, is affected by the different factors. Therefore multiple regression analysis was used to identify the factors which influence the productivity of vegetable products in the study area. The results show that availability of extension services, oxen, labour and fertilizer utilization positively influenced vegetable production. But it is influenced negatively by the cultivated size of land. The production cost of onion, potato and tomato was 73.8 birr, 58.4 birr, and 57.7birr per quintal respectively. This cost excludes the marketing cost such as transportation cost, loading and unloading, and other costs. During the survey time, the profit of onion per ha was far better when compared to the others. The price of vegetables in the study area is unstable. When compared to onion and potato, the price of tomatoes was found more unstable (the variation in prices around mean was 32 %). Farmers in the study area use donkey, car and local carts to transport their produces to the market. They used ordinary rooms for storage of their produces with ground/soil floor and with no shelves. Farmers are not aware about the price of their agricultural commodities before they arrive at market. As the result of this, farmers get lower price for the agricultural commodities. Multipurpose cooperatives do not significantly support the vegetable growers in the study area. The study points out to the need of effective interventions of multipurpose cooperatives to support and train the vegetable growers. Sound policies favouring vegetable cultivators and related rural agro-based industries are necessary conditions for rural poverty reduction, and for coping with domestic competition in the home market. Therefore government with the support of official donors and the multilateral institutions should help technically and financially the vegetable growers to increase productivity, to diversify production, to add value through processing, to provide the farmers a greater share of the final value of products through improved marketing, and to achieve environmental sustainability. Providing access to credit for the vegetable cultivators, improving marketing infrastructure especially improved storage and transportation facilities, providing technical guidance and training opportunities in processing and post-harvest technologies, supply of improved and quality seed material for increased production , extension efforts for plant protection, ensuring the availability of market information and adopting a group and participatory approach for vegetable production and marketing are the areas which need immediate attention.