Factors Affecting Local Veggie Sales by Small-Scale Farmers

Greg Howard
7th April, 2024

Factors Affecting Local Veggie Sales by Small-Scale Farmers

Image Source: Natural Science News, 2024

Key Findings

  • In Bungoma County, Kenya, a study found factors affecting the sale of African Indigenous Vegetables (AIVs) by small farmers
  • Larger land size, higher AIV yields, and added value to AIVs positively influenced their commercialization
  • Gender, payment methods, market distance, and production costs negatively impacted AIV commercialization
A recent study conducted by researchers at Egerton University[1] has shed light on the factors that influence the commercialization of African Indigenous Vegetables (AIVs) among smallholder farmers in Bungoma County, Kenya. This research is particularly timely, given the growing emphasis on healthy eating habits to combat lifestyle diseases and the recognized nutritional benefits of AIVs. AIVs, while known for their health benefits, have not been commercialized to their full potential. Producers often lack information and connections to market actors outside their local communities. This has resulted in a limited presence of AIVs in larger markets, despite their increasing demand. The study from Egerton University aimed to bridge this knowledge gap by identifying key factors that could boost the commercialization of these nutritious crops. To collect relevant data, the researchers used a multistage sampling method to select 384 respondents. These individuals were then surveyed using personally administered questionnaires. The data gathered were analyzed using a fractional regression model (FRM), a statistical tool suitable for modeling proportional data, to ascertain which factors significantly impacted the commercialization process. The FRM revealed that eight variables were substantial in influencing the commercialization of AIVs. These included the gender of the farmer, the size of the land on which AIVs were grown, the mode of payment for the crops, the distance from the farm to the markets, the yields of AIVs harvested, the cost of production, the time taken to reach the market, and the value addition to the AIVs. One of the notable findings was the impact of gender on commercialization. The study suggests that engaging farmers of all genders could lead to a more robust commercialization process. Additionally, the size of the land was crucial, as larger plots could lead to increased production and, in turn, greater market presence. The distance to markets and the duration it took to reach them were also significant. These factors can affect the freshness and quality of the vegetables upon arrival, which are critical attributes for market success. AIV yields and the cost of production were equally influential, as they directly affect profitability and scalability. Value addition, which refers to the process of increasing the economic value of a product through particular processing techniques or by combining it with other products, also played a pivotal role. This could involve simple processes like cleaning and packaging or more complex ones like creating AIV-based products. In light of these findings, the researchers recommended that policies and regulations be put in place to support the commercialization of AIVs in a manner similar to other cash crops. This could lead to improvements in both the quality and quantity of AIVs reaching various markets, thereby bolstering the farmers' income and promoting healthier diets among consumers. The significance of this study is further underscored by previous research[2], which highlighted the underutilized potential of indigenous foods in Africa. Indigenous and traditional food crops (ITFCs) like AIVs are not only rich in nutrients but also have environmental, economic, and socio-cultural benefits. Yet, their value has been overlooked, and knowledge about them is fading with each generation, posing a threat to long-term sustainable food security. By identifying the factors that affect the commercialization of AIVs, the study from Egerton University complements the earlier literature[2] by offering practical steps towards enhancing the role of these crops in sustainable food systems. It emphasizes the need for a concerted effort to promote AIVs, which could lead to a more diverse and secure food supply, as well as economic benefits for smallholder farmers in Africa.



Main Study

1) Determinants of commercialization of African Indigenous Vegetables among smallholder farmers in Bungoma County, Kenya

Published 4th April, 2024


Related Studies

2) A Review of Indigenous Food Crops in Africa and the Implications for more Sustainable and Healthy Food Systems.


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