Challenges affecting marketing of horticultural produce in kenya: mango fruits in masongaleni ward of Kibwezi constituency
Nzioki, Bernadette M.
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Horticultural farmers frequently consider marketing as being their major problem. However, while they are able to identify such problems as poor prices, lack of transport and high post-harvest losses, they are often poorly equipped to identify potential solutions. Mango fruits marketing in Masongaleni ward, of Kibwezi Constituency, is affected by many challenges among them middlemen who get larger profit share at the expense of the farmers who apparently have low level of education and limited information on the prevailing market situation. Prices of mango fruits fluctuate, limiting farmers from making reliable plans from mango fruits income. Road network is poor where 8.1% of the road is passable while 91.9% is impassable. The study investigated whether middlemen were necessary in the marketing of mango fruits, the impact of education/training of mango farmers and middlemen, determined whether the poor income from mango fruits was related to farmer’s education level. The research also investigated the effects of road network. The research was conducted using a case study design and the data was collected using questionnaire method. There were fifty farmers, twelve middlemen, two exporters and one District Agricultural Officer (DAO) to whom the questionnaires were administered. The data was analyzed using SPSS software (Statistical Package for the Social Sciences) and presented in form of tables and charts. The research found that mango was the most popular horticultural produce followed by tomatoes, watermelon and capsicum in that order. Marketing of mango fruits in Masongaleni ward of Kibwezi constituency was dependent on middlemen, farmers marketing knowledge/training, pricing of mango fruits and road network. Middlemen affected the marketing the most followed by prices, road network and education/training respectively. Education/training was not viewed to be a major factor in price determination but many farmers felt that it could help improve their income from mango fruits. Infrastructure, particularly road network was found to be inappropriate. It was recommended that there should be a structured and agreed price formula beneficial to both middlemen and farmers. To realize better income from mango fruits all stake holders should be trained on marketing and post harvesting techniques. Also, road network requires to be improved to make it more accessible to common mode of transport such as lorries, pickups and bicycles in Masongaleni ward.