Many farmers in Africa sell their produce at low prices immediately after harvest because they need cash. They could solve temporary liquidity constraints by use of credit and store their produce to sell when prices are high. However, due to various reasons such many poor farmers have been excluded from formal financial services. In response, t...he informal financial market has expanded, but the question why informal credit has not facilitated storage to enable farmers benefit from intertemporal arbitrage opportunities remains largely unanswered. To answer this question, we investigate the role of informal credit markets and traders in stabilizing seasonal food crop prices. Our analysis is based on a household survey data, and in-depth interviews with key players in the informal credit market and grain traders in rural southwestern Uganda. We find that community-based self-help savings and credit associations provide credit for the majority (62%) of farmers. Informal credit still excludes the very poor and is not sufficient to enable farmers benefit from intertemporal arbitrage opportunities. Thus, poor farmers continue to ‘sell low and buy high’. The study also addresses a related fundamental aspect of food marketing: why is there no competition between traders bidding up prices after harvest and eliminating seasonal price fluctuations? We analyse traders’ costs and profit structure in the study area, and shed some light on imperfections in the grain market and the barriers that limit competition between traders. We find that grain trade is not highly competitive. High transaction costs and limited access to credit are the main barriers limiting competition. Supporting community-based self-help savings and credit associations to raise their portfolio can enable more farmers to borrow at the same time. Investing in infrastructure, organising and supporting small scale farmers to bulk their produce might lower transaction costs, promote competition and dampen price fluctuations.
JEL Classification: D53, O13, O16, Q12, Q13
Access to credit is one of the critical areas that are of prime interest to development practitioners, agribusiness entrepreneurs and agricultural economists, mainly access to credit by farmers in order to increase their production and also reduce poverty. This study sought to analyze the determinants of credit access among cocoa farmers in the... Asunafo North of the Ahafo Region of Ghana. The multistage sampling procedure was used to collect data from 100 cocoa farmers with the aid of a questionnaire. Sources of credit, factors influencing access to credit, and constraints to credit were analyzed with the aid of descriptive statistics, multiple linear regression, and Kendall’s coefficient of concordance respectively. The results of multiple linear regression revealed that, age, marital status, education, experience, and family size were significant factors that influenced access to credit. The constraints analysis with the aid of Kendall’s coefficient of concordance showed that, high interest rate was highly ranked with a mean score of 1.93 whilst the need for a guarantor was least ranked with a mean score of 7.40. Based on the results, the study recommended that a policy aimed at expanding formal and semi-formal financial institutions credit portfolio to embrace cocoa farmers by finding alternative to collaterals and also reducing the interest rate will improve credit access with a positive externality effect of poverty reduction among cocoa farmers in the study area.
JEL Classification: Q14