Chapter 3. Surveys and projections

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This chapter outlines a practical methodology to undertake rapid and cost-effective surveys to understand how the present retail marketing system operates and how it may he improved. The chapter also provides basic guidelines on how to make projections of market throughput and use them to estimate the size of the market area and sales space and to assess what facilities should he provided in the market.

Market surveys

Whether it is intended that an existing market should be modified or expanded or that a new market should be established, there will always be the need for surveys. In the case of the improvement or relocation of an existing market three types of basic market survey are usually carried out: a general socio-economic review of the market operations, a traffic survey and mapping of the site. For new markets a physical survey will still be required and in more complex situations it may be essential to undertake a rapid appraisal of a city's existing retailing pattern. Where there is a total lack of information on consumption a sample survey of households may also be necessary.

A proforma market survey questionnaire covering a range of socioeconomic issues is provided in Annex A. This can be modified to suit most survey conditions. In the case of a simple street market a visual count of the stalls, and their activities, together with discussions with traders may be adequate. In more complex markets, such as a main urban retail market or an important rural assembly market, a full traffic count will be required (see Annex B).

Data collection requirements

In summary, the information that will need to be collected during surveys is as follows:

Market surveys: surveys will need to be undertaken over market and non-market days, using a mixture of full and sample surveys and discussions with individual traders and traders' associations, to determine the following:

FIGURE 26 Rice distribution channels, Ibaji District, Benue State, Nigeria.

Source: Smith, R. and Gormsen. E. Eds. (1979). Market Place Exchange. Geograhisches Institut der Johannes-Gutenberg-Universitšt, Mainz, Germany.

Traffic or roadside surveys: traffic counts (normally over a 14 hour daily period for one week) should be undertaken of the traffic entering and leaving the market. The enumerators should be posted at each entrance road to the market or at each entry/exit gate. The data collected should include the size and type of vehicle, the estimated volume it is carrying (e.g. in bags, bunches, etc.). In addition, a sample origin and destination survey should be undertaken, by type of transport (mode), and over at least a two-day period, for all the routes coming into the market. The analysis should also make estimates of traffic at other times of the year.

Surveys of market traffic should cover:

Physical surveys: one of the first steps to be undertaken before starting a survey is to see if there are maps available of a market site showing its physical layout and facilities, including infrastructure services. Sources of such information are survey departments and local authority engineers. Other relevant data may also exist, such as aerial photographs and planning reports.

However, if adequate mapping of the market area is not available a survey should be carried out, to record all the existing features within the market. The survey should be at least 1:500 scale, picking up details of levels (spot heights on a 2-5 metre grid, inverts of drains, slabs, breaks in slope, etc.) and the market site related to a fixed point or datum. The survey may need to be extended to record other important features outside the market area, such as drainage outfalls. All mapping should be plotted to conform to a standard sheet size. If a survey is undertaken by a contractor, separate field checks should be undertaken to verify all the map's features against an inventory of facilities.

Time requirements for surveys

Experience of market studies is that both the survey and analysis stages can be extremely time consuming. It is essential, therefore, that sufficient trained and competent manpower and financial resources are allocated to them. Box 2 indicates the level of staff resources that would be needed to undertake a full week's survey of a medium-scale rural or urban retail market. This assumes a site area of between one and two hectares, a throughput of 10,000 to 30,00 tons per year and five points of approach to the market. The person-days quoted take account of shift working during traffic surveys (i.e. two shifts in one day = two person-days).

BOX 2.Resources required for a medium-sized market survey

Market Surveys   Staff Person-days
Surveys: Agricultural Economist 1 5
Field Supervisor 1 7
Survey Enumerators 5 35
Analysis: Agricultural Economist 1 5
Supervisor 1 7
Assistants 2 14
Traffic Surveys (5 locations)  
Surveys: Planner/Engineer 1 1
Field Supervisors 2 4
Survey Assistants 5 10
Analysis: Planner/Engineer 1 2
Supervisor 1 7
Assistants 2 14
Physical Surveys  
Surveys: Engineer/Architect 1 5
Survey Assistants 2 10
Analysis: Engineer/Architect 1 1
Supervisor 1 2
Cartographer 1 7

FIGURE 29 Internal structure of a typical weekly market, illustrating the activity gradient within the suq, Es Souassi, Tunisian Sahel.

Source: Smith R. and Gormsen. E. Eds. (1979). Market Place Exchange. Geographisches Institut der Johannes-Gutenherg-Universitšt Mainz Germany.

Using survey results: simple visual surveys A common approach to market surveys is simply to make a visual count of the stalls and to record the activities being undertaken. Table 3.1 illustrates the result of a survey of a London street market located in an inner urban residential area with its main trade on Saturday mornings.

TABLE 3.1 Church Street Market, Westminster, London

Type of stall No. % total
Fruit and vegetables 7 3.2
Vegetables only 9 4.1
Fruit only 10 4.5
Dried fruit 1 0.4
Flowers and plants 5 2.3
Dried flowers 1 0.4
Fresh meat 1 0.4
Fresh fish 1 0.4
Dry and canned goods 3 1.4
Cooked food 2 0.9
Other (primarily clothing) 181 82.0
Total stalls 221 100.0

Source: Author's survey, 22nd May 1993

This survey method can also be used to compare the use of stalls between different markets. For example, the results of an approximate count of the number of retailers in four of the most important suburban markets in Zanzibar town is shown in Table 3.2

TABLE 3.2 Retailers in the Zanzibar suburban markets

Market Meat Fruit and vegetables Fresh and dried fish Total
Kwahaji-Tumbo 4 25 26 55
Mikunguni 2 37 15 54
Magorneni 2 26 11 39
Jang'ombe 3 25 14 42

Source: UNCDF Project No. URT/93/C06 (Renovation of Zanzibar Stone Town Market, 1994)

The 20 main retail markets in Bratislava, the capital of the Slovak Republic, were surveyed by making a simple count and a visual assessment of what each stall contained. The resulting distribution and use of stalls is shown in Table 3.3. An interesting feature arising from such surveys of retail outlets is that it is possible to use them (assuming that other retail facilities are also included in the survey) to estimate the distribution of retail sales through different outlets. In the case of Bratislava, for example, it was found from the survey that the most important retail outlets were the markets, accounting for around 60 per cent of the total volume of turnover of fruits and vegetables (see Table 34)

TABLE 3.3 Market stalls in Bratislava. Slovak Republic

Market location Number of stalls: Fruit/Neg. %total
All stalls Fruit/Vegetables
Central covered retail market (Mestka Trznica) 152 122 80
Mileticova Ulica 282 170 60
Svidnicka Ulica 50 25 50
Parickova Ulica 92 78 85
Other suburban street markets (16 locations) 515 378 73
Total 1091 773 71

Source: FAO Protect No. TCP/CZE/2253(A)

TABLE 3.4 Produce distribution, Bratislava, Slovak Republic

Point of fruit and vegetable distribution Annual sales (tons) per cent
Central covered retail market 5,000 6
Street markets (19 locations) 47,000 52
Retail strops end supermarkets 21,000 23
Institutional meals 5,000 6
Auto-consumption/purchases outside the city 12,000 13
Total annual urban consumption 90,000 100

Source: FAO Project No. TCP/CZE/2253(A)

In Table 3.3 the allocation of stalls on a per caput basis is around one stall per 400 to 500 inhabitants (with a sales area of 2 to 4m≤ per stall). On the basis of a per caput consumption of around 240 kg. (including vegetables, fruit and potatoes) and around 60 per cent of all produce in Bratislava being purchased in markets, this would be equivalent to a turnover of 18 tons per m≤, a figure corresponding to norms found in other urban area retail markets (see description of projection method later in this chapter).

Using survey results: surveys of vehicle flows

A survey based on a count of the incoming and outgoing vehicles provides one of the most reliable sources of data. The disadvantage of the method is that it requires skill in data handling and analysis, and can be very labour intensive. The surveys generate a great deal of data and can only be practically analysed by using a computer. However, such surveys are essential for assessing the development needs of larger assembly markets and more complex urban markets. A description of a methodology for traffic flow surveys is contained in Annex B.

The results of a typical survey of vehicle flows are shown in Table 3.5, which indicates the movement of vehicles carrying goods into and out of the Zanzibar central market over a week in November 1993. The table shows that the greater part of the goods coming into the market is transported on buses, with over 90 per cent of the produce arriving in the market from country areas. The majority of the produce leaving the market is carried on pick-ups over suburban routes. The larger lots transported into the market over longer routes are thus broken down into smaller amounts for distribution around the suburban markets. The average lot size arriving is 675 kilograms and departing only 212 kilograms.

TABLE 3.5 Zanzibar Central Market: daily vehicle movements

Type of vehicle Number bringing produce % Total Number taking produce % Total
Not Specified 11 2.5 12 2.7
Bus/shamba lorry 297 67.3 5 1.1
Lorry 12 2.7 15 3.3
Mid-Size Trucks 14 3.2 - 0
Pickup/dalla-dalla 107 24.3 408 90.7
Total 441 100.0 450 100.0

Source: UNCDF Project No. URT/93/C06 (Renovation of Zanzibar Stone Town Market, 1994)

Using survey results: surveys of retailers

Experience from many countries demonstrates that there is always a significant difference in consumption between urban and rural areas.

Where produce is freely available, per caput consumption in capital and other major cities is likely to be substantially higher than in other urban areas and rural areas. One method of getting an indication of consumption is to undertake a small-scale sample of all retail outlets. The results of such a survey in Lesotho, which covered only the sale of a limited range of vegetables, are shown in Table 3.6. This study estimated that around 19 per cent of the total retail trade in the city was marketed through supermarkets, 44 per cent through local grocers and 37 per cent through street vendors.

Table 3.6 Retail vegetables sales in 1989 ,Maseru, Lesotho

Type of trader No. of traders Annual retail vegetable sales (tons):
Cabbage Onion Potatoes Tomatoes Total
Supermarkets 7 774 455 1,084 299 2,612
Local grocers 479 3,853 423 1,083 658 6,017
Street vendors 415 2,441 777 1,392 440 5,050
Total   7,068 1,655 3,559 1,397 13,679

Source: Estimates from survey by MOA, Marketing Department and USAID/LAPIS Project.

The major difficulty in carrying out retail surveys in urban areas relates to the enormous number of small retail outlets (usually unlicensed). This can be demonstrated by reference to licensing data. Of the 629 retail premises in Maseru, for example, only 77 were licensed for the sale of food and beverages, compared to the 500 or so small stalls which could be observed actually selling food. In these circumstances alternative methods for estimating consumption need to be used. In some cases this may require a household consumption survey to be undertaken.

Using survey results: physical problems in existing markets

The purpose of the physical survey of an existing market is to observe what problems exist in its operation. Space may be at a premium, with produce being sold at the roadside and no physical facilities being provided. In this case losses due to stock deterioration are likely to occur. A very important part of such a survey is to record the views of the market traders themselves. The range of conditions that may cause problems which are likely to be encountered in both rural and urban markets, include:


This section outlines the methods by which survey data, combined with information on agricultural production and household consumption, can be used to estimate the potential throughput of a market and how this key characteristic is applied to predict floor space and site area requirements. There is a difference in approach between pure retail markets, whether urban or rural, and those markets that also fulfil an assembly or wholesaling function.

Retail markets: household consumption

The first step in the design process requires a review to be made of existing consumption data, which is normally expressed as an annual average consumption for individual food items on a per caput (per head) basis, e.g 100 kg. of potatoes per caput. These data are often available from nutrition surveys, but the best method of estimating consumption is generally on the basis of a comprehensive household budget survey, if this is available. Household budget survey data can also be used to check whether there is any relationship between estimates of daily or annual consumption and the estimated throughput of a market. With allowances made for wastage and the inevitable inaccuracies in estimating weights this method can provide a reasonable cross check on survey results.


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