Determinants of Collective Marketing Agents’ Performance: An Empirical Study of Smallholders’ Collective Marketing with Evidence from Malawi Tobacco Growers

Yusta Simwita


Improving marketing access for smallholders is one of the different mechanisms aimed to stimulate rural agricultural activities and alleviate poverty. Collective marketing through agents has been pointed out as a key strategy that can improve smallholders marketing activities. This paper presents the findings of a study that had analysed the determinants of collective marketing agents’ performance in relation to its smallholder tobacco farmers. Data was collected from 16 groups of tobacco growers from Thyolo and Mchinji districts in Malawi. In all, 104 questionnaires were distributed, but 86 qualified for analysis. Data were analysed using multiple regression analysis. The findings support two hypotheses related to monitoring and information systems. Even though the study findings support external influence and goal conflict hypotheses, they were largely insignificant. The result suggests that improving agents’ performance requires well-established monitoring systems and information flow. This study bridges the existing knowledge gap on the relationship between smallholders and collective marketing agents in developing world context. To improve agent performance in this relationship is critical for the betterment of smallholders’ livelihood. Therefore, policy-makers and donors should, set up mechanisms and rules aimed that empower smallholders to monitor their agents.

Keywords: Collective marketing, agents’ performance, smallholder farmers, agency theory

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[ISSN 1821-7567 (Print)  & eISSN 2591-6947 (Online)]