This small research and development activity (SRA) aimed to understand how smallholder farmers in Mozambique respond to closer links to markets.
The ACIAR-funded 'VINESA' project, Vegetables for Income and Nutrition in Eastern and Southern Africa (FSC/2012/111), established 'Best Practice Hubs' in Tanzania, Ethiopia, Malawi and Mozambique to help smallholder farmers supply nutritious vegetables to urban markets. This project was part of a broader effort to improve nutrition in Africa and improve the livelihoods of rural communities.
The project was successful in Tanzania and Ethiopia, but Malawi and Mozambique lagged behind. An end-of project review recommended that a supplementary effort, with extra time and resources, be made in these last two countries, but ACIAR's further investment was limited to this six-month SRA, supporting a focused effort in Mozambique.
The SRA addressed two research questions:
- Do smallholder farmers, trained through Best Practice Hubs, gain more from their increased competitiveness in traditional wet markets or from entering more lucrative but riskier and more demanding supermarket value chains?
- Does a market intermediary - helping smallholder farmers to access these demanding but lucrative markets - help farmers to achieve better returns?