Chisango Future Fortune T
Abstract: The study sought to establish and analyze the challenges and opportunities on grain marketing particularly maize among Zimbabwes rural and A1 resettlement farmers, mainly focusing on those in high rainfall regions of the country. The main objective was unveiling practical and feasible strategies for improving grain/maize production and marketing viability in the countrys disadvantaged communities. To achieve this, a descriptive study design was used while random stratified sampling procedure was employed to select a sample of 80 farmers specializing in maize production from selected farms in Matepatepa area of Bindura district, Mashonaland central province. The sample constituted communal and newly resettled farmers under the small-scale A1 Farming Model. Questionnaires were used to solicit for primary data from the respondents. Secondary data from government departments and other stakeholders was obtained through interviews. The generated primary and secondary data sets were analyzed qualitatively to ascertain challenges and opportunities associated with Zimbabwes smallholder grain productivity and marketing with particular emphasis on maize which is the main livelihood crop as staple food and source of revenue for the resource poor farmers. It was established that maize productivity / total physical product TPP attained per given unit of land were generally low to enable farmers have surplus produce to sell particularly among the communal producers. The irrefutable findings from the Gross Margin Analysis computed to establish the economic justification of boosting maize productivity among the smallholder producers revealed that lack of guaranteed price level for maize at the farm gate and competitive markets coupled with the dictatorial tendencies of GMB constitute the main constraints discouraging communal and resettled farmers from boosting grain productivity as the production cost always surpasses gazetted producer price, hence failing to advance and sustain the livelihood of small-scale farmers. The study, therefore, recommended that government and other stakeholders should provide adequate technical and institutional support to effect robust positive developments on the countrys smallholder maize / grain production, to recover the lost pride of the countrys agriculture as a lucrative business.
Keywords: maize marketing systems, command economy, grain productivity, smallholder sector, total physical product TPP, the gross margin analyses & monopsony marketing structure