Understanding smallholder farmer attitudes to commercialization
The case of maize in Kenya
Using the case of maize production in Kenya, this study reframes the challenge of smallholder commercialization in the context of staple food crop production and individual farm-level decision-making by a heterogeneous population of smallholder farmers. While many smallholder growers of staple crops find themselves trapped in a cycle of poverty, they differ greatly in their abilities to break this cycle and in their attitudes towards using commercial farming as the pathway for doing so. With an appreciation for the heterogeneity of smallholder farmers comes an understanding that supporting policies and programmes must move from traditional one-size-fits-all approaches to more targeted, customized approaches that are more likely to facilitate the sustainable uptake of a more commercially oriented approach to smallholder farming. Based on extensive primary data analysis, various innovative options for such strategies are presented in this study.
Agricultural marketing, Linking farmers to markets