A huge percentage of the population in many developing countries engages in some form of farming for subsistence.
The farmers then sell the surplus produce, which accounts for at least 50 per cent of their family incomes.
These farmers are largely disadvantaged and face exploitation as they sell comparatively small volumes and are geographically isolated.
To overcome asymmetrical and inadequate information problem, market information system (MIS) needs to be enhanced to encourage a more competitive economic environment, thus, improving the symmetry between buyers and sellers of agricultural commodities.
In most parts of Africa, farmers rely on the information from traders/brokers despite the likelihood of it being inaccurate compared to that obtained from other sources such as government, NGOs and processing companies.
Understanding barriers to market access for smallholder farmers is thus central to unlocking their potential and overcoming the obstacles.
Farmers need better access to market information on prices, quality, quantity, where to sell and production technologies, which can be done through the establishment of MIS by government and development partners.
Good access to the market is crucial for smallholders’ development because it creates the necessary demand and offers remunerative prices, thereby increasing incomes, food security, rural employment, and sustained agricultural growth.
There is an urgent need to improve market access of perishable crops for Africa’s smallholder farmers, who produce the bulk of food to ensure sustainability.