Farmer group approach to commercialization of smallholder agriculture. Do social capital and collective action arrangements matter? The case of indigenous chicken farmer groups in Mutare district, Zimbabwe.
Abstract: The commercialisation of smallholder agriculture is increasingly recognised as key to economic development and poverty alleviation. Interventions to promote commercialisation of smallholder agriculture in most cases adopt the farmer group approach as an efficient collective action initiative for enhancing marketing performance. Understanding how farmer groups’social structure and collective action arrangements affect the commercialisation efforts is particularly important. This study seeks to understand the effect of farmer group social capital and collective action arrangements on the farmer group approach to the commercialisation of smallholder agriculture. Further, to complement on this understanding and derive meaningful recommendations for future farmer group based smallholder agriculture commercialisation development interventions programmes design, the study explores the social capital related challenges faced by farmer groups, their sources and the farmer perceived solutions. Based on a mixed methods analysis, the study found that cognitive social capital and relational capital are important factors in the farmer group approach to the commercialization of smallholder agriculture. On the other hand, the study found no significant effect of structural social capital and collective action arrangements on the farmer group approach to the commercialization of smallholder agriculture.
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