Previous Page Table of Contents Next Page

Internal marketing and domestic policies

In most Group I countries, particularly in Asia and Africa, sorghum is largely a subsistence crop and, therefore, only small volumes enter the marketing chain. Transactions take place mostly in rural markets near areas of production and between neighbouring households. Marketing channels between producers and the major urban centres are poorly developed. The exceptions are India and China, where infrastructure and markets are relatively well developed. Most farmers in India have access to primary wholesale markets; it is lack of demand, not infrastructure, that is the main constraint to production growth.

Domestic markets for sorghum in much of Africa are characterized by limited and variable trade volumes due to scattered and irregular supplies, large distances and high transportation costs. Prices vary during the year; they are lowest immediately after the harvest, when supplies are abundant, and increase as the year progresses. This variation is greatest in countries where sorghum is the main staple (e.g., in the Sahelian zone).

Many Group I countries do not have specific national production or price policies for sorghum. Instead, sorghum is heavily affected by domestic policies for maize, rice, wheat and other cereals. Traditionally, these policies were built around grain prices set by governments or parastatals with a monopoly over grain marketing. Prices were, in most cases, uniform throughout the country and remained fairly constant over the year, irrespective of changing supply or price trends. However, since the mid 1980s, many countries have started to liberalize their cereal markets, removing government price support and direct involvement in grain market management. As a consequence, price variability between different parts of a country and across the year, is expected to increase.

Previous Page Top of Page Next Page