A global value chain perspective to understanding and unpacking the development trajectory of the horticultural industry in Zambia : the case of small-scale farmers based in Lusaka.
The Global Value Chains (GVCs) have become an important constellation around which global trade is evolving. This dissertation argues that the GVC framework is an important means for conceptualising horticulture in Zambia, highlighting the need to grasp how it operates in order to understand the linkages between buyers and small-scale horticulture growers. Evidence suggests that as quality, timely delivery, and other post-harvest handling requirements by supermarkets and other well-informed consumers are ever on the rise, it is likely influencing the structure of value chains. This is profoundly impacting small-scale horticulture producers, who are conceptualised to be ill-prepared for these changes. This study explored respondents’ perceptions of their perceived performance relative to customer requirements in order to understand the farmers’ performance gaps, aimed at strengthening the horticulture value chains and also help the small-scale farmers’ competitiveness. This dissertation hopes to contribute to available research on the ability of small-scale farmers to espouse corresponding critical success factors (CSFs) in the value chains aimed at securing their livelihoods. Accordingly, a questionnaire was used that developed CSFs to identify how the farmers actually undertake market analysis, and how these are used to inform the type of activities they undertake. For the purpose of analysis, the study divided the respondents into four categories: farmers supplying open markets, local consumers, marketeers and retailers to determine the extent to which the farmers benefit from the interactions at each stage of these chains. Several results were revealed. One is that specific chains influence turn-over; the type of assets owned that result into farmers’ competitiveness. This suggests that GVC can be touted as a panacea to profitability, asset development, including better incomes that are pro-poor. However, the study shows that this finding only holds if the farmers properly integrate by igniting market fundamentals to their favour. Secondly, the findings reveal that most of these farmers are locked in low-value chains, where they are experiencing erosion to their profit margins. Overally, none of the farmers except those who serve the retail trajectory realize better returns to boast of asset accumulation and optimal poverty reduction. Thirdly, it was found that the retail value chain govern the domestic value chains by placing emphasis on delivery speed, product innovation, and delivery reliability among other things. This produces two effects on small-scale farmers: (1) limited bargaining power in the industry, and they face some limits to upgrade their ethical and environmental practices implying lack in extension services, and (2) Many are unable to fully participate in rewards that high-value chain offers in terms of better terms and prices. This finding implicitly means they are failing to properly integrate as the new governors in the chains are influencing who or who should not be their supplier. Therefore, emanating from the results and drawing on the theory's implications, is the importance of a policy intervention as a result of insights of high entry barriers in rewarding markets, or it can be ignored at industry and farmers’ peril.