The Pivotal Importance of Good Access to Markets for Farmers

Good access to lucrative markets is vital for farmers to be profitable and productive. This is evident in all agricultures that have successfully transformed. Unless they sell profitably, farmers risk acting against their financial interest by being productive, resulting in surpluses, which lead to price falls when there are gluts, as demand for basic food is typically price and income inelastic. Therefore, if governments want to transform their agricultures, they must provide an environment that enables their farmers to be productive and to sell profitably. This policy brief sets out why this condition is important for agricultural transformation; what it takes in terms of basic infrastructural and institutional requirements to gain access to lucrative markets; what some governments have done to assist their farmers to successfully access domestic and foreign markets; and what governments in developing countries, especially in Sub-Saharan Africa (SSA), can and must do for their market-deprived smallholders, if sustained income and productivity increases, among smallholders, is a national priority.