Contractual arrangements and smallholder cane growers’ performance: Evidence from Kilombero and Turiani, Morogoro – Tanzania

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Mzumbe University
Contract farming (CF) is widely accepted as a tool for improving performance of smallholder farmers in developing countries. In Tanzania CF has been practised in the sugar sector since 2006. However, ever since its commencement, sugarcane production trend portrays ambiguous conclusion with regard to smallholders‟ performance. Based on these trends, this study intended to examine the role of CF on performance focusing on process upgrading, profitability and income diversification in sugarcane production. The objectives were (i) to assess whether CF arrangements facilitate or obstruct farmers from upgrading their production processes, (ii) to determine the levels of efficiency of smallholder cane growers and identify factors influencing the efficiency levels, and (iii) to determine the extent of diversification among sugar cane growers and identify factors influencing diversification. Each objective had its own methodological approach. In analysing these objectives, various econometric tools were used e.g. Cobb Douglas stochastic profit function to analyse factors influencing farm profitability, and single limit Tobit regression for analysing factors influencing income diversification using a sample size of 386 respondents. The findings indicated that CF offers limited incentives and capabilities necessary for upgrading smallholder cane growers‟ processes. About 84% of cane growers affirmed that price of sugarcane, payment systems, and enforcement mechanisms were the main constraints for them to upgrade their production process. Similarly, the capability parameters such as training, extension services, input provision and access to credit were not included in the agreements and therefore cane growers‟ capabilities were adversely affected. Econometric model result indicated that, market satisfaction, a proxy for CF arrangement was not a significant determinant of farm profitability. However, descriptive statistics showed that price and payment mechanisms exhibited high profit inefficiency. This implies that market access restricts attainment of optimal farm frontier profit. Regarding input use, fertilizer was used much below the optimum amount, suggesting that there is a considerable room for input use expansion to boost productivity, and consequently, farm profitability. Tobit result indicated that land ownership, education, household size, and access to paved road were important determinants of diversification. On the basis of these findings, it is concluded that access to incentive and capability variables, improved pricing and payment modalities, and access to various assets might improve performance, profitability and welfare of the sugarcane growers.
A thesis submitted in fulfillment of the requirements for award of the Degree of Doctor of Philosophy of Mzumbe University
Farming opportunities on upgrading, Smallholder farmers, Influencing income diversification