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Improving Market Access for Farmers: Evidence from East Africa

Project description

Growing market access for farmers in East Africa

Agriculture plays a central role in developing countries, particularly in Sub-Saharan Africa, encouraging economic growth and employing the majority of the labour force. However, limited access to input and output markets restricts technological improvements and agricultural productivity. The EU-funded AGRIMKT project envisages improving farmers’ market access in East Africa. The research consists of three related projects. The first will use a randomised experiment to assess the impact of contract farming on improving market access. The second will study how to increase the demand for crop insurance among small owners. The third will combine parcel-level proprietary data for three decades obtained from a large agribusiness enterprise with land registry data to study the impact of land market access on small owners.

Objective

Agriculture employs the majority of the labor force in many developing countries, particularly in Sub-Saharan Africa. Increasing efficiency of agricultural production is a crucial step to foster economic development. Limited access to both input and output markets is widely considered a major obstacle to technology adoption and, in turn, to agricultural productivity.

In this proposal, I outline a research program that focuses on improving farmers’ market access in East Africa. The research builds on the expertise I have developed on these topics over the last ten years.

The research program consists of three related projects. In Project A, we will use a randomized experiment to evaluate the impact of a holistic approach to improve market access: contract farming. The prevalence of contract farming arrangements in the developing world is growing. However, so far, there is no experimental evidence on their impact. We have established a partnership with a large contract farming company in Kenya, which has agreed to randomize the order in which it will expand to new villages.

In Project B, we will study how to increase demand for crop insurance among smallholders. Building on previous successful experimental work, we will test i) whether offering pay-at-harvest insurance, as opposed to upfront premium pay, raises take-up, ii) which behavioral mechanisms may drive such response, and iii) whether pay-at-harvest can foster sustained insurance demand over multiple crop seasons.

In Project C, we will combine parcel-level proprietary data for three decades that we obtained from a large agribusiness company with land registry data to study the determinants and impact of land market access for smallholders.

The research program will generate new insights on how to improve access to key markets for agricultural producers. We expect the findings of the study will generate high interest among academics, development practitioners, and policymakers.

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Coordinator

UNIVERSITAT ZURICH
Net EU contribution
€ 1 499 913,00
Address
Ramistrasse 71
8006 Zurich
Switzerland

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Region
Schweiz/Suisse/Svizzera Zürich Zürich
Activity type
Higher or Secondary Education Establishments
Links
Other funding
€ 0,00

Beneficiaries (1)