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Vegetable production is of great importance in terms of nutrition improvement, income generation and food security. Africa Research in Sustainable Intensification for the Next Generation (Africa RISNG) action research project actively integrates vegetable farming and marketing practices in order to reduce the vulnerability of indigenous populations of Babati district located in the Manyara region of Tanzania. In Tanzania smallholder vegetable famers receive asymmetrical and incomplete market information which is costly. Mobilizing farmers into groups so as to access viable market information while enhancing their bargaining power is one way to overcome this challenge. However the extent to which this has been achieved has not yet been evaluated. This study sought to evaluate the influence of farmer organizations towards improving smallholder income in Babati. Objectives of the study were: to determine types of market information accessed by smallholder vegetable farmers through farmer organizations, determine factors influencing information seeking behaviour of vegetable farmers and determine effect of access to market provided by farmer organizations on smal holder vegetable farmer‟s income. The target population was smallholder farmers who grow vegetables within maize based farming systems. Multi-stage sampling technique was employed where by 250 smallholders vegetable farmers were interviewed using structured questionnaire. The results showed that the type of market (29%) is the most type of market information accessed by vegetable farmer through farmer organization. From the Poisson model the results show that distance to the market information source point has a negative influence on farmer‟s information seeking behaviour. In contrast, gender, education, income and group membership had a significant positive relationship with farmers‟ information seeking behaviour. In estimating the effect of access to market provided by farmer organizations on smallholder vegetable farmer‟s income, Propensity Score Matching (PSM) was used. The results indicate that farmers who had access to the market provided by farmer organization have more income (501691.413 TZS) than non member (405471.429 TZS). From the results, it is recommended that an enabling policy environment that establishes and strengthens farmer organizations be supported. This will assist in transforming smallholder farming as viable business ventures through increased productivity and increased household incomes while reducing rural poverty.

Background of the study 
Agriculture is an important activity to the society. The sector plays a major role in terms of poverty alleviation, food security and economic growth (Balarane and Oladele, 2012). As such majority of the people in the world depend on agriculture with approximately 1.5 billion people being engaged in smallholder agriculture (Shaun et al., 2014). In Africa about 70% of the population lives in the rural areas and depends on the sector for their livelihood. The sector accounts for about 20% of Africa‟s Gross Domestic Product (GDP) (Economic Commission for Africa, 2004), 60% of its labour force and 20% of the total merchandise exports. 

In Tanzania the sector contributes about 26.7% to the Gross National Product (GNP) and 32% to the Gross Domestic Product (GDP) (food security, employment and foreign exchange earnings) (Horticulture Development Council of Tanzania, 2010). The sector is made up of different sub sectors like crops (food and cash) and livestock. Over the years, most of the cash crops like coffee, tea and sisal have mostly benefited large scale farmers with most smallholders concentrating on such crops like maize and beans. These crops have had minimum returns to smallholders. Therefore, to improve the livelihoods of smallholders, the government and development partners have encouraged smallholders to diversify to high value crops such as horticultural crops. 

The horticultural subsector is one of the upcoming subsectors in the country with a annual average growth of 9-12 percent per annum (Netherlands Enterprise Agency, 2017)).The growth of this subsector is more than double the overall annual growth rate of the agricultural sector. The subsector contributes to employment opportunities where by about 2.5 million people are employed. Hence this makes the industry a major employer within the agricultural sector. 

The growth of this subsector is as a result of the increased health awareness of people in terms of the benefits of eating fruits and vegetables (Dolan and Humphrey, 2000). Consequently, there is increased demand and market opportunity for horticultural produce in urban centres of both developing and developed countries. Due to this, smallholder farmers have an enormous opportunity to invest more in horticulture production especially vegetables. 

Vegetable production has received considerable attention in recent times. Vegetables are of great importance in terms of nutrition improvement, income generation, food security and improving resource use efficiency in agriculture. In Tanzania the total production of vegetables is about 1,869,485 tonnes (FAOSTAT, 2017). Most vegetables are grown on small scale despite the fact that horticultural crop usually generate higher earnings per unit area and represent an alternative for farmer with too small cultivable land to provide adequate income from field crops (Helen Keller International, 2004). Since vegetables can be grown in small landholdings, the subsector is attractive to smallholder farmers and can be promoted as an avenue to improve their livelihoods. As a result, smallholder farmers have diversified to vegetable production in order to increase their per capita income. 

Despite the importance of vegetables, their production is associated with high risk and uncertainty because they are a highly perishable produce. The perishable nature of vegetables necessitates effective marketing channels (Xaba and Masuku, 2012). According to Antwi and Seahlodi (2011), the success of vegetable growers (operation and decision) depends on market availability, accessibility and affordability. 

Access to markets for smallholder rural farmers, however, is fraught with challenges such as poor infrastructure as well as, up to- date market information (Magnus and Piters, 2010). Marketing information such as market prices guide farmers in making informed decisions about product planning and marketing place (Uchezuba et al., 2009). However, most smallholder famer‟s receive asymmetrical and incomplete market information. This is due to the fact that information is scattered across a variety of agencies, government departments and private sector organizations. This limits the chances of smallholder farmers accessing market information. 

In order to overcome asymmetrical and inadequate information problem, Market Information System (MIS) such as farmer organizations need to be enhanced so as to encourage a more competitive economic environment by reducing informational asymmetry between buyers and sellers of agricultural commodities. Therefore policy makers and the private sector should join together with smallholder farmers and design appropriate programmes to help them easily access complete and symmetry market information. 

One of the ways of enhancing market access through provision of market information to smallholder vegetable producers is by forming farmer organizations. Mobilizing producers into groups/associations and establishment of contractual arrangements between farmers and buyers (contract of farming) can be an important entry point to link farmers with buyers hence a market assurance to farmers and sufficient supply to buyers (Horticulture Development Council of Tanzania, 2010). Kaganzi et al., (2009) indicated that farmer groups in Uganda, through collective action, help meet basic market requirements for minimum quantities, quality and frequency of supply which they cannot achieve as individuals. They are able to access new markets arising in the context of market reform, government policy, and globalization. Moreover, marketing in groups reduces transaction costs of accessing inputs and outputs for smallholders and enable them to obtain necessary market information and secure access to new technologies, which allow them to compete with larger farmers and agribusinesses (Ellis and Bahiigwa, 2003). Due to this forming farmer groups has become one of the ways through which smallholder farmers can access markets. 

In Babati district-Tanzania the Africa Research in Sustainable Intensification for the Next Generation (Africa RISING) project funded by USAID in collaboration with World Vegetable Centre (WolrdVeg) and Tanzania Horticulture Association (TAHA) have come up with initiatives of integrating vegetables into maize-based systems for improved nutrition and income of smallholder farmers. The project has devoted much effort in encouraging the establishment of vegetable farmer organizations, while strengthening existing ones. These organizations are aimed at acting as a market information system to allow the coordinated produce to meet the demands of large volume regional markets, as well as institutional consumers. This effort aims at contributing to improving household food and nutrition security among the most vulnerable households and their members, especially women and children. 

Statement of the Problem 
Smallholder farmers‟ have integrated vegetables into their farming systems to increase and /or diversify their income as well as nutritional/dietary needs. In as much as many smallholders have adopted vegetable production, they have not realized the expected returns. Daily price fluctuations coupled with seasonality of supply leads to uncertainty. In Tanzania as is the case in many other Sub-Saharan African countries, smallholder vegetable farmers receive asymmetrical and incomplete market information which is costly. To overcome this, 

Africa RISING has promoted and encouraged commercial vegetable farming by smallholders through formation of farmer groups so as to provide market information and market access. However, the extent to which this has been achieved has not been evaluated. As such, there was a need to explore the influence of farmer organizations in providing market information and market access towards improving income. 

Research objectives 
General objective 
The general objective of the study was to contribute to improved livelihoods of smallholder vegetable farmers through enhanced market access in Babati district, Tanzania. 

Specific Objectives 
i) To determine the types of market information accessed by smallholder vegetable farmers through farmer organizations in Babati District, Tanzania. 
ii) To determine factors influencing market information seeking behaviour of vegetable farmers in Babati District, Tanzania. 
iii) To determine the effect of access to market provided by farmer organizations on small holder vegetable farmer‟s income in Babati District, Tanzania. 

Research Questions 
i) What are the types of market information accessed by smallholder vegetable farmers through farmer organizations in Babati District, Tanzania? 
ii) What are the factors influencing market information seeking behavior of vegetable farmers in Babati District, Tanzania? 
iii) What is the impact of access to market provided by farmer organizations on small holder vegetable farmer‟s income in Babati District, Tanzania? 

Significance of the Study 
Market information systems (MIS) are designed to enhance competition in the market by increasing market transparency and accessibility for all market participants, and in particular the weakest who are smallholder farmers. Farmers need information to deal with various problems confronting their farm operations. They need to decide what to produce and how much, and where to market in order to maximize their profit. Vegetables are perishable by nature and need immediate disposal in the market. Therefore vegetable farmers need an efficient market information system that can disseminate information and make farmers aware of existing market opportunities. Joining farmer groups enables smallholders to pool resources to enable them process (value addition) and enter into contractual agreement with buyers to sell their produce. By doing this it reduces transaction cost, gives assurance of the market, extension services and increase production leading to increased smal holder‟s vegetable producer‟s income. Farmer organizations as a Market Information System empower farmers by strengthening their bargaining power in order to increase their share of the retail proceeds from their produce. Information channelled through farmer groups tends to be more efficient and effective because it encourages competition and group members tend to motivate one another. Therefore, determining the influence of farmer organizations as a market information system to enhance market access and improve income will provide useful insights to both the producers and other actors on the importance of the system and how to enhance it so that it can operate effectively and efficiency towards improving smallholder income. 

Scope and Limitation 
Information asymmetry exists in any market system that has different actors. Tanzania agricultural sector has many players with different information needs. Linking these key players is crucial for market efficiency. However the study was focused on the influence of farmer organizations as a Market Information System (MIS) on income of smallholder vegetable producers who have 5 acres of land and below. Although they were many species of vegetables, this study only focused on Tomato, African eggplant and Amaranth cultivated at the area of the study under the framework of Africa Research in Sustainable Intensification for the Next Generation (Africa RISING). The study was conducted in Babati and involved Tanzanian Agricultural Productivity Program (TAPP), Babati agricultural offices, World Vegetable Centre (WorldVeg) and other existing development initiatives in the project region. The absence of detailed data from local authority offices and relevant NGOs offices mentioned above presented limitations for this study. To counter this limitation, the researcher collected primary data directly from the target group members to enlarge the data from secondary sources. 

Definitions of terms 
Indigenous vegetables: refers to a crop species or varieties genuinely native to a region, or to a crop introduced into a region where over a period of time it has evolved, although the species may not be native. 

Market information: refers to the information that helps the producer to make decision and plans for the product development activities. 

Market information system: In this study, is a farmer organization system that analyzes and assesses market information, gathered continuously from diverse sources. 

Asymmetric information: is the situation in which information is shared out in unbalanced manner leading to some parties receiving more or superior information compared to others. 

Transaction cost: is the cost of doing business or cost of exchange between two trading partners, in our case smallholder vegetable farmers and buyers. 

Smallholder farmer: is a farmer owning small based plots of land (5 acres and below) on which they grow subsistence crops. 

Market access: is the concept that describes the sum total of all skills acquired through experience or training that enable a farmer to participate by selling and maintain regular customers to his/her produce. 

Farmer organization: is a voluntary social group that is formed in communities which differ in size, common interest/objectives and degree of interaction among members. 

Household: is a person or group of persons who reside in the same homestead/compound but not necessarily in the same dwelling unit, have same cooking arrangements, and are answerable to the same household head 

Information Seeking Behaviour: is the situation where farmer demanding for information as a consequence of a need to satisfy some goal.

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More than 80 percent of the population in Ethiopia lives in rural areas and their main source of income is agriculture. Agriculture accounts for 45 percent of the Gross Domestic Product (GDP) and employs 85 percent of the labour force.Export of agricultural products constitutes 86 percent of the total foreign exchange earnings. The country has taken different measures to diversify and increase the contribution of the export sector to economic growth such as; export trade duty incentive scheme, export credit guarantee scheme and foreign exchange retention scheme to those wholly engaged in supplying their products to foreign markets. Despite the incentives taken by the country, the export sector has depended on a few agricultural products mainly coffee, oil seeds and pulses which are characterized by fluctuations in quantity, price and have low competitiveness on the world market. The objective of the study was to assess the trend and impact of agricultural (coffee, oilseed and pulses) exports on economic growth of Ethiopia over the last forty years by looking at: the existence of long run relationship between agricultural export and economic growth; the speed of adjustment in the long run and the existence of causality between the agricultural export and economic growth. The analysis was done using co-integration model, Error correction model and Granger causality model.The findings of the study showed that Coffee export and oilseeds export have a positive and significant relationship with economic growth. While, pulses export was found to have negative and insignificant effect on economic growth in short run and positive but insignificant in the long run. On the other hand the causality relationship found that there is bi-directional relationship between coffee export, oilseed export and economic growth whereas unidirectional relationship was found between pulses export and economic growth. Based on the findings, it is recommended that policies aimed at increasing the productivity and quality of these cash crops should be implemented. Also additional value should be added to them before exporting. Correspondingly, there is also a need to devote resources on the production of non-export goods in order to increase exports since they have bi-directional relationship. When this is done, it will lead to a higher rate of economic growth in Ethiopia.

1.1 Background of the study 
More than 80 percent of the population in Ethiopia lives in rural areas and their main source of income is agriculture. Agriculture accounts for 45 percent of the Gross Domestic Product (GDP), employs 85 percent of the labour force and generates 86 percent of export earnings (MoFED, 2010). However, Ethiopian farming is largely characterised by peasant holders who grow food mainly for family consumption thus leaving little for commercial purposes. This inadequate volume of production is mainly due to the tardy progress in farming methods and scattered pieces of land holdings. Most of the farm land is cultivated by small scale farmers with traditional agricultural practices. However, the rural and agricultural sector is the foundation of Ethiopian development. Due to this, the sector gets priority in government policies and in the five-year (2003-2007 E.C) development and transformation program. Among others, the rural and agricultural development policy encourages the expansion of large-scale farms, which would have a relative advantage to introduce modern technology and farm management to raise production. The new economic policy resulted in fast economic growth which grew at about 11 percent per annum on average over the last ten years between 2003/04 and 2012/13(MoFED, 2014). 

Ethiopia is following agricultural led industrialization economic policy. In the 2011/12 fiscal year the agricultural sector, service sector and industrial sector contributed 44 percent, 45 percent and 11 percent to real GDP of the country respectively (MoFED, 2013).The share of the agricultural sector to the whole economy is decreasing from time to time whereas the growth in service sectors increasing at high rate while the industrial sector is increasing at a low rate. However, even though the agricultural sector has been showing a decreasing contribution to the country’s GDP, it still contributes 85 percent of employment and 70 percent of raw materials for local industries (MoFED, 2013). 

The economy of the country is mainly dependent on the agricultural sector thus the export sector is also highly dependent on agricultural productivity. Since the export sector is characterized by dependence on primary commodities, the country faces different problems. For instance, in 1983 the provisional government of socialist Ethiopia (Derg) noted that the basic constraints for Ethiopia exports included: the low volume of exportable products, the limited degree of diversification of exports, frequent economic crises and artificial trade barriers by trading partners among others. Moreover, after the downfall of the Derg regime, the transitional government of Ethiopia stated that it is essential to increase and diversify exports (Abay and Zewudu, 1999). Thus, Ethiopia has taken different measures such as export trade duty incentive scheme which incorporates duty draw-back scheme, voucher scheme and bonded manufacturing warehouse, export credit guarantee scheme and foreign exchange retention scheme to those wholly engaged in supplying their products to foreign markets. When compared to the pre-1991period, the trade policy regime has become more liberal (Yishak, 2009). 

Owing to this policy shift, some improvements in export earnings have improved during the post reform period. According to the Ministry of Trade (MOT), the value of export earnings increased from $1.03 billion during the first six years of the Derg regime ((1974- 1980) to $15.48 billion in the last six years of the EPRDF regime ( (2008-2014)).However, the exports of the country contributed only 0.02 percent in 2012 to the world market (WTO, 2013).The country`s export sector has depended on export of a few agricultural products like coffee, oil seeds, pulses, skins and hides(Yishak,2009). 

1.1.1 Overview of agricultural exports in Ethiopia 
The share of international trade of Ethiopia is insignificant and the export sector is dominated by primary products for which the income elasticity of the developed country slowly increases as their income increases when compared to consumer goods and producer goods. Ethiopia is the main producer and exporter of coffee in Africa which is grown mainly in two regions of the country; Oromiya and Southern Nation, Nationalities and People (SNNP) region in the south and west part of the country (Bart et al., 2014). 

Coffee is cultivated by over four million primary smallholder households and a high percentage of coffee is supplied to the local market (CSA, 2013). In 2012 fiscal year, Ethiopia was the major coffee producer and exporter in Africa and ranked tenth of the largest coffee exporters in the world. The country exported 3.2 million bags of coffee and accounted for 3 percent of internationally traded coffee in the same year (Bart et al., 2014). According to Ethiopia Revenue and Customs Authority (ERCA, 2013), coffee contributes a large portion of total exports of the country, has high contributions to the country’s gross domestic product (GDP) and the most crucial source of hard currency. However, since investment in agriculture as a whole is weak in the country, the production of coffee fluctuates from year to year and international coffee market experiences significant price variations. 

On the other hand, oil seed is the second major export earner of Ethiopia. The country produces different types of oilseed varieties such as sesame seed, linseed, niger seed, sunflower seed, soybeans, cottonseed, and rapeseed. From these sesame seed, linseed and niger seed are the major export crops. According to ERCA, in 2011/12 the country exported 367,436.15tons of oilseeds valued at 472.31 million dollars which was an increase of 113,249.69tons from 2010/11 period. 

The other crop that Ethiopia exports in high volume next to coffee and oilseeds is pulses. In 2012/13, the country exported 357,518.77tonsvalued at 233.35 million dollars (ERCA, 2013). The increase in demand for pulse in local and international market created economic incentives which resulted in high production and supply of the commodity. The general overview of these three commodities given in Figure 1 below indicate two things; first, through time, the export of the commodities was increasing in volume as well as in values and highly contributed to the total exports of the country on average. Second, the export volume was fluctuating from year to year depending on different factors such as world market price, climate change which can affect the production of the commodity, change in government policy among others.

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The most distinguishing feature between developed and developing countries is the relative poverty rates. Poverty scourge undermines lives of many in developing countries including Swaziland (63%). The general belief is that irrigated agriculture limits crops failure, external shocks hence Swaziland has seen development of new and rehabilitation of existing Smallholder irrigation schemes (SHIS). The Poverty Reduction Strategic and Action Programme (PRSAP) advocates for the development of smallholder irrigation schemes towards achieving Millennium Development Goals (MDG 1). This study examined whether smallholder irrigation schemes had a significant impact on poverty reduction in Swaziland using Ntfonjeni and Ngwempisi Rural Development Areas (RDA) as a case study and two irrigation schemes were selected in each RDA. The study used the “with and without approach” and was based on empirical evidence from a representation of 190 households which were randomly selected from four enumeration areas located in the four irrigation schemes. Data were collected using questionnaires. Analysis involved poverty measures for members’ versus non members, socioeconomic demographics, factors influencing household decision to participate in irrigation schemes was determined using a logit model while average treatment effects using propensity score matching was used to assess the impact of smallholder irrigation schemes on poverty reduction. The study revealed that the members in Ngwempisi had significantly low poverty incidence as compared to non members of 58% versus 79%, whilst the poverty gap was 6% for members versus 17% for non members. In Ntfonjeni 53% members were poor and 83% of non members were poor. The poverty gap was 8% for members versus 34% for non members. The empirical results revealed access to credit positively influenced participation in irrigation scheme by 26% and other significant variables were age, farm size, occupation, distance to the irrigation scheme and other group membership. Finally access to the irrigation scheme had a positive impact to the households consumption and expenditure level. The Average Treatment effect of Treated (ATT) indicated that, consumption expenditure of irrigation members was 21% more than non members of irrigation showing a positive impact in poverty reduction of households. Hence the government can invest more on smallholder irrigation schemes as one of the poverty reduction tools, which should be complemented with an agrarian reform involving all the stakeholders to ensure efficiency in that value chain.

Background information 
The most distinguishing feature between developed and developing countries is the relative poverty rates (Mwabumba, 2013). Poverty rates in developing countries are relatively higher than those in the developed countries. Millions of Africans are born, live and die poor, hungry and malnourished. Most of these unfortunate people live in rural areas and directly or indirectly depend for a large part of their livelihoods on agriculture (Kirsten et al., 2009). The role of agriculture has not been ignored by policy makers across Africa but has consistently recognized its importance to the poor of the continent and has stressed the significance of agriculture to African economies and people (ibid). Despite all these efforts, poverty prevalence in the Sub-Saharan Africa (SSA) still remains deep, pervasive and intractable. 

In most African economies, the contribution of agriculture to GDP is significant and directly provides about 70% of employment along with related services. Many countries in the continent have embarked on different structural changes to fight against poverty through investing in agriculture. Some key investments have been geared to the agricultural sector to increase productivity as well as diversify production as part of achieving Millennium development goal one. African agriculture is predominantly rainfed and the changing weather conditions would further exacerbate the poverty situation (Todaro, 2012). It has been argued that one strategy which would be used to mitigate water scarcity is irrigation. Indeed Pinstrup (2011) and (Hussain, 2004), revealed that investing in smallholder irrigation schemes is one of the best strategies to reduce poverty levels given that majority of the population is found in rural areas and derive about 70% of their livelihood from agriculture. 

Since irrigation has limitations in terms of cost, the use of collective action by farmers in smallholder irrigation schemes is one of the key strategies that can be used to enhance utilization especially in developing countries. Delgado (1998) argued that smallholder irrigation schemes in southern Africa cannot be ignored or treated as a small sector of the market economy because they are important for resource and human employment. It has also been observed that, higher incidences of poverty are associated with the places where there is low agricultural productivity (Pinstrup, 2011). In the Republic of South Africa, for instance, smallholder irrigation schemes have induced a positive impact in increasing crop production, higher yields and lower crop failure (Anne, 1997). An increase in production makes food available and affordable for the poor. Irrigation investment acts as production and supply shifters and has a positive impact on economic growth, benefiting the poor in the long run. Hussain and Hanjra (2004) extensive review suggested that there were strong linkages between irrigation and poverty. These linkages are both direct and indirect. Hence it is in the agricultural sector that the battle for long term economic development will be won or lost (Gunnar, 2009). The main burden of development and employment creation will have to be borne by the part of the economy in which agriculture is the predominant activity, which is the rural sector (Francis, 1993). 

In the kingdom of Swaziland, agriculture is mainly rain fed and forms the backbone of economic activity as well as playing a crucial role in economic development by providing food, raw materials and employment to a large proportion of the population. With its present contribution to GDP at 9%, the sector employs 29% of the total labor force (FAO, 2010). However its growth over the past eight years has stagnated with an increase in food insecurity and perpetuating poverty levels in rural areas. As a result the country is a net food importer for maize and vegetables from South Africa (FAO, 2012). 

This situation has made the government to invest in the agricultural sector, specifically by improving technologies farmers use in production through irrigation. Irrigation schemes are becoming dominant throughout the country and efforts are made with the help of foreign donors and NGO’s to rehabilitate existing and construct new irrigation schemes and dams. Current total irrigated land in the country is 54 933 ha, with sugar cane, which is the main cash crop sector occupying 50 000 ha, while smallholder irrigation schemes cover an area of more than 5000 ha (MOA, 2013). These sugar cane schemes are located in the low-veld region and mostly owned by estate companies. In the other parts of the country, the smallholder schemes grow mainly vegetables which add to the consumption basket of the farmers and income through surplus output sold locally. One of the major enterprises in these schemes which earns income is baby vegetables (vegetables harvested when still tender) which are exported to South Africa and European countries through the National Agricultural Marketing Board (NAMBoard). 

The current household poverty level in Swaziland is estimated at 63%. Poverty can be measured at country level, household level and individual level; however most studies focus at household level World Bank (yearly reports), Hussian (2004) and Munir (2004). In Swaziland, the term poverty is used to define the people without adequate income to buy the minimum amount of food necessary to sustain active life (set as 2100 kilocalories per person per day), and to acquire the non-food requirements for a decent living. This is referred to as income poverty (Swaziland Household Income Expenditure Survey, SHIES, 2011). 

Poverty has many dimensions; it is characterized by low income and expenditure, but also by malnutrition, ill health, illiteracy, and insecurity. There could be also a sense of powerlessness and exclusion (SHIES, 2011). These different aspects often interact and combine to keep households, and at times whole communities, in persistent poverty. 

The Poverty Reduction Strategy and Action Program for Swaziland (PRSAP, 2006), has reflected that rain fed agriculture limits the extent to which production can increase and highly recommended the Government to continue in investment of more irrigation schemes in the kingdom. Whilst the Draft National Irrigation Policy (DNIP, 2005), has put a main emphasis that water can play an important role towards poverty reduction in Swaziland, it further declares water as a national resource that has to be developed and used for national benefit especially in poverty reduction projects and programs. With the experience of Asia, many SSA countries realized that investment in irrigation infrastructure could be an important poverty reduction policy, which can boost agricultural productivity and also reduce risks associated with rainfall variability, which forms the basis for this study using Swaziland as a case study. 

Statement of the problem 
The current focus on smallholder irrigation schemes in Swaziland has seen the establishment and rehabilitation of major vegetable growing irrigation schemes including Mphatheni, Mtsambama, Ekuvinjelweni, Mswati, Maplotini Emavulandlela, Ntamakuphila, Mkhovu, Mancubeni and Nkwene. The schemes benefitted in large part from persistent donor funding over a period of more than five years. Though large numbers of households have been enrolled and allocated land in these schemes it has not been established, however, whether the influx has achieved the intended aim of reducing poverty. It has not been established whether enrolled households have experienced improved incomes. Further, there is no evidence to prove whether the socioeconomic status of the enrolled households have improved when compared to the non-members. 

This study focused on irrigation schemes that have been working for more than five consecutive years to determine if indeed smallholder irrigation schemes have a role to play towards poverty reduction in Swaziland. In particular it examines the role of irrigation in addressing consumption, expenditure, and income of smallholder rural farming households. 
Objectives of the study 

General objective 
To contribute towards improved poverty reduction policies for rural smallholder farmers in Swaziland. 

Specific Objectives 
Specifically the study aimed: 
i. To determine the current household poverty levels between the members and non- members of small holder irrigation schemes. 
ii. To compare the socioeconomic dimensions of members and non-members of the smallholder irrigation schemes. 
iii. To determine the factors that influence a farmer to participate in the irrigation scheme 
iv. To assess the impact of smallholder irrigation scheme on poverty reduction. 

Research hypotheses 
i. The poverty levels of members of irrigation scheme are not statistically different from that of non- members of the smallholder irrigation schemes. 
ii. There seems to be no significant difference in the socioeconomic dimensions of the members when compared to the non-members. 
iii. There is no significant difference in factors that influence farmers’ participation in irrigation schemes. 
iv. Participation in irrigation scheme has got no significant impact in poverty reduction. 

Justification of the study 
Investing in smallholder irrigation schemes is one of the main strategies that the country is using to reduce the poverty levels. As a result the long term development in agriculture in Swaziland is based on realizing the potential of smallholder agriculture by raising productivity and incomes. This is the most direct route towards achieving agricultural growth, improving food security and poverty reduction. Considering the effort that the government is putting in improving and expanding irrigation schemes, there is a need for a study to evaluate the effect of smallholder irrigation schemes on poverty reduction. The study is expected to provide empirical evidence towards the contribution of access to irrigation water and ultimately towards the standard of living of smallholder farmers. Related studies that are specific to Swaziland are relatively scarce and those that have been done focus mainly on food security and as a consequence, conclusions are often drawn on the basis of quite limited evidence. 

Findings from this study will contribute towards the development of short and long-term, policy interventions aimed at fostering poverty reduction and reduction in the country. It will also add literature on the analysis of irrigation and poverty linkages specifically for small holder farmers. 

Scope and limitation of the study 
The study focused on schemes involved in vegetable production because these are enterprises which are considered to be of high value and would have a greater impact on incomes for smallholder farmers. Cross sectional data was mainly used because primary data using recall was not appropriate given the long period. However, it is also important to mention that poverty is quite diverse and broad; this study only focused on consumption, expenditure, assets and sanitation thus not all the aspects of poverty were explored given the limited time and resources which were scheduled for this study. 

Operational definitions of terms 
Smallholder farmer: they are sometimes called peasant or resource challenged farmers who own less than 2 ha of land with and without access to irrigation water and with limited capital investments. Farmers rely mainly on family labour for production which is both for subsistence and commercial purposes. 

Poverty: The poor in Swaziland are those people without adequate income to buy the minimum amount of food (set as 2100 kilocalories/person/day), necessary to sustain a normal and active life and to acquire basic non-food requirements for a decent living (PRSAP,2006). 

Irrigation: Watering crops using water from a dam or river as means of improving crop productivity and reducing drought shocks.

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Legumes are important food and cash crops in developing countries. In Tanzania, more than half the farmers grow several species of grain legumes which include common bean, groundnut, pigeon pea, cowpea, chickpea, peas and soybean. However, productivity of all grain legumes is still low and far below potential and this has impacted on profitability. The aim of this study was to contribute to common bean improved profitability facts for income and food security in Tanzania. The specific objectives were; to measure the common bean on-farm gross margin realized by smallholder farmers, examine the socio-economic factors determining common bean on-farm level gross margin and to determine factors influencing the household common bean supply to the market. Multistage sampling procedure was used to select the respondents from the four divisions in Babati district (Babati, Gorowa, Mbugwe and Bashnet). The first stage involved a purposive selection of two divisions from the four divisions mentioned. The second stage entailed the selection of six wards from the two divisions, using purposive sampling technique; four from Bashnet division and two from Babati division. The fourth stage entailed purposive selection of 9 villages from the six wards basing on bean production dominance. Then the final stage employed systematic random sampling technique to select 200 bean farmers from the nine villages. Primary data was collected from the field using a structured interview schedule method. Secondary data such as national and world common bean production trend; Tanzania common bean export and import were obtained from published literature from Babati district council, Sokoine National Agricultural Library and Egerton University main library. In analysis of data; objective one was analysed using Gross Margin Analysis procedure. Moreover, objective two was analysed using Multiple Regression Analysis approach. Lastly, objective three was analyzed using Logistic Regression method. The study results showed that, at farm level, a gross margin of TZS 133,710.20/= (US$63.67) and TZS 307,283.70/= (US$146.33) for local and improved variety respectively was generated per acre per season. Moreover, age of respondents; gender; yield; selling price (farm-gate price); access to credit; and off-farm income affected the gross margin realized by smallholder farmers. Similarly, age of respondents; gender; family size; education level (years of schooling); farm-gate price; distance to the market; and off-farm income influenced the quantity of bean supplied to the market. This implies that, if this study is positively recognized by bean industry stakeholders, it may significantly contribute as a source of information for improving bean profitability and food security.

Background information 
Agriculture plays a fundamentally important role in the economic growth and development prospects of a vast majority of developing countries including Tanzania (WTO, 2000). The sector contributes almost a quarter of Gross Domestic Product (24.1%) and employs 75% of the active labour force in Tanzania (Economic Survey, 2011 and URT, 2013). Amongst the important agricultural subsectors in Tanzania are livestock, fishery, agro-forestry and crops (URT, 2013). The major food crops in the country include maize, sorghum, millet, rice, wheat, cassava, potatoes, bananas and legumes (OECD/ADB, 2012). Moreover, the principal export crops include coffee, tea, cotton, cashew nuts, sisal, oil seeds, horticultural crops, pyrethrum, fresh cut flowers, cloves and spices (UNESCO, 2011). 

Legumes represent an important component of agricultural food crops in developing countries as they complement cereal crops as a source of protein and minerals especially in Sub-Saharan Africa (Akibode, 2011). Grain legumes also serve as rotation crops with cereals, reducing soil pathogens and supplying nitrogen to the cereal crop (Beebe, undated). Food legume crops are considered vital crops for achieving food and nutritional security for both poor producers and consumers (ICRISAT, 2012). Food legumes as well play an important role as a source of animal feed in smallholder livestock systems (ibid). Food legumes moreover have higher prices, compared to cereals, and are increasingly grown to supplement farmers’ incomes (Gowda et al., 2009 and Giller, 2012). 

One of the important legume crops grown in Tanzania is common bean. Common bean (Phaseolus vulgaris L.) is the most important food legume for direct consumption and as a source of farm income in Tanzania (NBS, 2012). In the country, beans are often cultivated by smallholder farmers for food consumption without the use of fertilizers where quarter to one- third of the households sell their beans (Ndakidemi et al., 2006), with around 20% surplus being marketed (FAO, 2005). Common bean is a popular crop among small-scale farmers because beans are a short duration crop (2.5-4 months) which permits production even when rainfall is erratic (CIAT, 2008). This helps in shortening the hunger periods as well as for providing quick cash (ibid). 
The average bean productivity in Tanzania is around 662 kg/ha (Ndakidemi et al., 2006). However, the potential productivity under reliable rain-fed conditions, using improved varieties under proper crop and land husbandry is 1,500–3,000 kg/ha (ibid). Table 1 below shows that in 2013 the country produced 1,150,000 MT on 1,300,000 Ha of land (FAO, 2014).

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In rural areas particularly arid and semi-arid lands (ASALs), smallholder farmers produce mainly under subsistence system due to poor access of market. Farmers in ASALs particularly in Laikipia County depend on horticultural crop production for their livelihood and as a major source of income and rural employment. The purpose of the study was to determine factors influencing choice of market facilitators and their impact on smallholder horticultural farmers’ livelihood. Primary data was collected using structured questionnaires to contact 396 respondents through employment of multi-stage sampling procedure. Descriptive statistics and propensity score matching model were used to analyze the data. From the study it was shown that most farmers used traders while marketing their produce, radio and television to access market information. Gender and distance to output market had a positive significant influence on choice of market facilitators by smallholder farmers. In addition, it was shown that household size, age of household head and marketing through a group positively influenced choice of market facilitators. On the other hand, number of members in the group, access to market information, purpose of farming and amount of output produced negatively influenced choice of market facilitators by smallholder farmers. The findings also indicated that, farmers who involved market facilitators had slightly higher income, than those who marketed their produce independently. The study recommends that to effectively link smallholder farmers to market: governmental organization ought to play a bigger role in disseminating extension services and market information on output price and market availability also infrastructure should be improved especially roads networks in rural areas. In addition, policy makers and government institutions should formulate laws that will enable successful linkage of farmers to the market, through frequent extension services and farmer training services.

Background information 
Agricultural sector accounts for 26% of gross domestic product (GDP) directly and 25% indirectly (GoK, 2010). Over 50% of produce marketed is mainly from smallholder farmers (GoK, 2005). About 85% of farmers in rural population are smallholder and characterized by holding land of less than five acres (Omiti et al., 2009). Horticultural crop (fruits and vegetables) production is considered as the main source of income and employment in rural areas. This account for 70% of the total production, 23% of the total foreign exchange earnings and is one of the leading economic earning sectors (GoK, 2006). Horticultural sector contribute 33% of Agricultural GDP, this therefore acts as a major source of food security and household income (GoK, 2010). In addition, it reduces poverty mainly especially in rural areas thus it is one of the major source of agri-business services for example extension services (Brigitte et al., 2009). Smallholder horticultural farmers contribute 55% to 60% of total exported horticultural crops (fruits and vegetables) (HCDA, 2004) and dominates horticultural production (FAO, 2009). Its production is possible with unreliable weather condition and gives higher returns compared to other cash crops (Minot and Ngigi, 2004). 

Market opportunities over the past years in Kenya have changed due to market reforms and globalization. These reforms mainly targeted large-scale farmers and neglected smallholder farmers thus reducing their linkage to output market and leaving them with few financial sources (Kamara, 2004). Urbanization, rising consumer incomes and demand for higher food standards have created new domestic market opportunities which can be utilized by poor smallholder farmers particularly those in arid and semi-arid lands (ASALs), but there is poor linkage to these markets (Best et al., 2005). Smallholder horticultural farmers in rural areas are then likely to market their products at farm gate level at unfavorable low price; reducing income from the farm due to poor market linkage (Robbins, 2000). 

A study by Chowdhury et al. (2005) revealed that barriers to market access include information asymmetry, transport, communication costs, policy induced barriers, social and non-economic factors and in rural areas; distance to the market and provision of standardized products to the market on a continuous basis (Gulati et al., 2007). Inaccessible product markets contributes to poor market performance and is likely to prevent farmers from taking advantage of new market opportunities; high output price and steady supply to the market (Omiti et al., 2006). Smallholder farmers are likely to be limited to unstable spot markets when there is weak marketing institutions and poor marketing strategy forcing them to produce under subsistence system (Shanoyan et al., 2012). Shepherd (2006) noted that, agricultural production should be linked with market demand and farm level activities should be looked at within the context of the whole supply chain and linkage within the chain. Presence of imperfect markets and limited institutions which support marketing functions, liberalization strategies were bound to fail in integrating smallholders in less-favored areas into high value output markets (Shiferaw et al., 2009). In a situation of limited markets and pervasive rural market, imperfections in inputs and output markets, producer organization, collective marketing groups and market facilitation through market facilitators provide alternative marketing mechanisms. This will enhance market oriented production and enhance technologies in linking smallholder farmers to output markets and raise market participation and commercialization of smallholder production. 

Market facilitators help smallholder farmers’ access input and output markets and participate in those markets. Choice of market facilitators by smallholder farmers’ and their participation in marketing activities is likely to be influenced by economic factors such as reduction in transaction costs and payment period. Non-economic factors such as forming trust based relationships with consumers and market facilitators (Louw et al., 2006). In addition, they are likely to provide market information especially on output price and available markets. Smallholder farmers are then enabled to forecast, plan and produce efficiently (Mundy and Sultan, 2001) and reduce marketing risks (Robbins, 2000), thus helps them to decide on what to produce, choice of marketing strategies and technologies to use in production (Mukhebi et al., 2007). 

Market facilitators coordinate smallholder farmers to access input and output markets that include; private firms, individual sponsors, government run schemes and non-governmental organization who mainly undertake market facilitation particularly in ASALs. These areas are preferred mostly due to their irrigated horticultural products (GoK, 2001). This study therefore sought to identify the effects that market facilitators have on smallholder farmers particularly in arid and semi-arid lands at farm level. Appropriate understanding is then concluded on ways to link smallholder farmers to output high value market especially to the government, agricultural stakeholders and donors. 

Statement of the Problem 
Smallholder horticultural farmers in Arid and Semi-Arid lands (ASALs) are poor and lack access to markets, producing mainly for subsistence. Access to markets particularly in ASALs areas is likely to benefit farmers by increasing their income. Smallholder farmers do not have access to markets mainly due to poor linkage to output market and presence of market information asymmetry. There is inadequate information on high value markets for output produce and prices at the markets. Market linkage involves linking farmers to high value markets and provides them with information on output prices, in order to take advantage of emerging market opportunities. Market facilitators mainly link smallholder farmers to the market. Presence of market facilitators is likely to benefit smallholder farmers in coordinating the movement of output product to market and also provide access to farm inputs and this is likely to have marginal effect on their income. There is scarce information on those factors that influence smallholder farmers in their choice of market facilitators despite their participation in marketing activities and their impact on farm income. The study therefore sought to distinguish farmer’s characteristics with respect to their choice of market facilitators, determine factors influencing choice of market facilitators by farmers and evaluate the effect of market facilitators on farm income among smallholder farmers in Laikipia County. 

General Objective 
The broad objective was to assess the contribution of market facilitators on smallholder horticultural farmer’s livelihood and welfare in Laikipia County, Kenya 

Specific Objectives 
i. To distinguish smallholder farmer’s characteristics with respect to choice of market facilitators in Laikipia County. 
ii. To determine factors influencing choice of market facilitators by smallholder farmers. 
iii. To evaluate the effects of market facilitators on smallholder horticultural farmers’ income. 

Research Hypotheses 
i. There are no distinct characteristics relating to smallholder farmers and their choice of market facilitators. 
ii. There are no significant factors influencing choice of market facilitators by smallholder farmers. 
iii. Market facilitators have no significant effect on smallholder farmers’ income. 

Market access is of primary importance to most rural households in eradication of poverty (IFAD, 2003). In rural areas particularly ASALs their main economic activities are livestock production and horticultural crop production (mainly fruits and vegetables). Access to market by horticultural crop farmers in ASALs has an effect on their income. To achieve the Millennium Development Goals of halving people living in absolute poverty especially in rural areas by the year 2015; linking smallholder farmers to output and input markets is the best strategy (World Bank, 2007). Market linkage is likely to be constrained by farm characteristics (distance to the market, farming experience and asset owned) and market related factors (time taken to reach the market, access to market information and credit facilities). With improving linkage to the market, smallholder farmers are likely to increase farm productivity and thus raise their welfare. This forms a basis of transforming from subsistence farming system to commercial agricultural production. In addition, linking smallholder farmers to markets and confronting those constraining factors act as an incentive in raising farm efficiency, farm income and creating employment in rural areas and therefore help in attaining Kenya’s Millennium Development Goals and vision 2030. This study is vital in informing the government, donors and policy makers while making the necessary supportive measures to link smallholder farmers to input and output markets. Market linkage studies assist in revealing the contributions that market facilitators have on agricultural production, marketing, farm income and enable the government in development planning. The study provides information on factors influencing smallholder farmers on their choice of market facilitators, which is essential to policy makers while developing policies that assist in linking smallholder farmers especially in rural areas to the market. The study also contributes to the body of literature existing since many studies carried out on market linkage concentrated on ways and benefits of linking farmers to the market while paying little attention on the influence that facilitators have at farm level. 

Scope and Limitation of the Study 
The study was conducted in Laikipia County, among smallholder horticultural farmers. The scope of the study was to examine the effects that market facilitators have on smallholder horticultural farmers in ASALs areas particularly in Laikipia East Sub-County. The data on farm and marketing characteristics was collected from smallholder horticultural crop farmers in the District. 

Definition of Terms 
Market facilitator - These are organizations and consultants whose sole or primary responsibility is to handle marketing functions for example providing market information on input and output markets (Thinah, 2010). 

Market linkage - It refers to any market related activity which promotes the sale of produce and entry into a market (Key et al., 2000). 

Bonding social capital - It is connectedness between close people who wants to achieve a common goal. It builds strong ties, but can also result in exclusion of those who do not qualify, (Schuller et al., 2000) 

Bridging social capital - It is characterized by asymmetric feelings of connectedness that exist between heterogeneous groups i.e. smallholder farmer and market facilitator these are likely to be more fragile, but more likely also to foster social inclusion (Schuller et al., 2000). 

Smallholder farmer - Small holder farmers are refered to in literature as smallscale farmers, peasant farmers, resource-poor farmers, subsistence farmers , food deficit farmers and emerging farmers (Thinah, 2010) Output market access - It refers to ability to sell all the marketable output at the right time and at the expected price.

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Food security is a major concern of the world, especially among the poor in developing countries. Pulses, including dry beans, play a crucial role in ensuring food security, particularly in Sub-Saharan Africa where over 200 million people depend on beans as part of their main diet. In Rwanda, dry beans are an important staple food and constitute the primary source of protein for about 90% of Rwandan households. Unfortunately, dry beans are a slow-cooking food, requiring a lot of time and fuel to be ready for consumption. This makes them an indirect cause of deforestation and air pollution. To counteract this disadvantage, the concept of precooked beans was introduced in Rwanda in 2009, although their use has been dismal. The current study, therefore, sought to identify challenges hindering their use and evaluate potential economic and environmental effects of their use among boarding secondary schools in Rwanda. A multiple sampling technique was used to acquire proportionate sample of 64 boarding secondary schools. A structured questionnaire was used to collect data from caterers of those schools. Data was processed and analysed using management tools such as SPSS, STATA and Ms Excel for descriptive statistics, logistic regression and partial budget analysis, respectively. The results showed that the major constraints to the use of precooked beans in schools were lack of sufficient information, perceived high price, unavailability and the sustainability claims about precooked beans industry. Factors such as the education level of caterer, type of institution, geographical location of institution, size of institution and perceived high price of precooked beans had a statistically significant influence on the willingness of schools to use precooked beans. Partial budget analysis revealed that in average, in a school of 478 students, the total cost of consuming precooked beans was Rwf 1,588,535 (USD 1,847) per month, which is Rwf 270,919 (USD 315) higher than the total costs of consuming dry beans. In relation to environmental effects, results showed that in average, precooked beans consumption in one school of 478 students would save about 27.04metric tons per month. This implies that the use of precooked beans in secondary schools would reduce the imbalance between annual wood demand and supply by 17.1% on average. Thus, the government should recognize the environmental benefits of precooked beans adoption in schools and consequently subsidize precooked beans in schools to an affordable price. Further, it should come up with policy to enlighten schools about the damaging effects of environmental degradation.

Background of the study 
Food security is a major concern of the world, especially among the poor people living in Sub- Saharan Africa (SSA) and other developing areas of the world. It is for this reason that the second Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) aims at attaining zero hunger in the world (WHO, 2015). In 2016, the number of undernourished people was estimated at 815 million worldwide with 224 million of the undernourished people living in Sub-Saharan Africa (FAO, 2017). This high level of food insecurity in SSA is mostly attributed to increased population, which leads to higher demand for food than supply, thus causes rise in food prices (FAO, 2017). Climate change is also considered as the major source of food insecurity in SSA for it causes severe droughts and floods which bring about heavy losses to agriculture and hence food production (Sasson, 2012). Another key cause of food security in SSA has been identified as post-harvest food loss and waste for about 1/3 of food is lost during production or transportation (FAO, 2016a). 

In addressing global food security, pulses have been recognised by United Nations as the potential crops to play this role (FAO, 2016b). Pulses are an affordable source of protein as compared to animal products, and a good source of minerals (FAO, 2016a). Besides, pulses contribute significantly to climate change mitigation. That is, they supply their own nitrogen and contribute nitrogen to ensuing crops through their fixation of atmospheric nitrogen in soils. This, in turn, reduces required fertilizer, hence, lowers greenhouse gas emissions in agricultural production (Singh et al., 2016). Furthermore, pulses minimise food wastage as they can be stored for long periods without being spoiled (FAO, 2016a). Pulses or grain legumes include among others dry beans, soybeans, cowpeas and lentils. 

Dry beans are particularly important because of their naturally nutritious nature. They are a good source of protein, carbohydrates, fibre, vitamins and essential minerals such as manganese, phosphorous, potassium and magnesium (Akibode and Maredia, 2011). They have low saturated fat content (Messina, 2014). They are, therefore, of particular importance in the diets of low-income households around the world which cannot afford to buy animal products (Akibode and Maredia, 2011). Hence, they are often referred to as “poor man’s meat” (Larochelle and Alwang, 2014). Common beans have the advantage of providing a range of food products as they can be consumed as leaves, fresh pods, fresh grains and dry grains (Nsengiyumva et al., 2017). Fresh pods protein is high in lysine, which makes it a good complement to starches like maize, cassava and rice (Munywoki, 2017). 

Moreover, beans provide many potential health benefits, including reducing cardiovascular, cancer and diabetic risks (Winham et al., 2016). Dry beans have a low glycemic index due to their richness in complex carbohydrates and vegetable protein and this makes them a perfect food for managing insulin resistance, hyperlipidemia and diabetes (Foster-Powell et al., 2002). It has also been reported that consuming dry beans four or more times per week reduces heart disease risks by 22% (Winham et al., 2016). Further, apart from playing a crucial role in reducing the risks of chronic diseases, dry beans have been reported to have an anti-obesogenic activity due to its effects on cholesterol metabolism (Zhu et al., 2012). 

Among pulses, dry beans are the second most produced pulse worldwide after soybeans, whereby in 2016 their production was 26,833,394 metric tons (FAOSTAT, 2018). They are produced across the world with the major production being from Asia and Latin America (Sousa, 2017). Though the largest quantity of dry beans is produced by middle and developed countries, dry beans are mostly consumed in under-developed and developing countries (Rezende et al., 2017). In Africa, dry beans are the most important grain legume with their production coming primarily from small-scale farmers in Sub-Saharan Africa and assumed largely for subsistence (Wortmann et al., 2004). In 2016, dry beans production in Africa was estimated to 6,489,138 metric tons (FAOSTAT, 2018). Dry beans are one of the most popular traditional diets in East African countries and over 200 million people living in Sub-Saharan Africa depend on them as a primary staple (Malyon, 2014). 

In Rwanda, dry beans are the third most produced crop after bananas and cassava. In 2016, dry bean production was 437,673 metric tons (FAOSTAT, 2018). They are grown in all the regions of the country, contributing greatly to the employment and income of about 80% of small holder farmers (Akibode and Maredia, 2011). Dry beans serve as an important staple in Rwandan diet and constitute the primary source of protein for about 90% of Rwandan households, with the daily per capita consumption of 80 grams per person on average (FAOSTAT, 2012). Indeed, Rwanda and Burundi have the highest per capita bean consumption in the World (NAEB, 2012). As such, beans, in Rwanda, are one of the crops that are part of the government’s Crop Intensification Program (NAEB, 2012) to ensure food security for all. 

However, despite these comparative advantages and consumer preference for freshly cooked beans, cooking traditional dry beans is considerably time and energy consuming. Dry beans take approximately three hours to cook (Aseete et al., 2018) and consumers incur considerable costs to buy energy necessary to prepare them. Wood, either in the form of firewood or charcoal, is the main source of energy for their cooking for about 80% of Rwandan population (Uwisengeyimana et al., 2016). In rural areas, though generally the amount of money incurred in getting cooking fuel are minimal, women spend many hours collecting firewood to cook dry beans (Aseete et al., 2018). Those fuels directly cause deforestation, and air pollution from carbon emission, which in turn lead to environmental degradation, climate change and poor health. 

Since the last decade, deforestation has been of much concern for the government of Rwanda. In fact, from 1990 to 2007 the country has known a massive deforestation due to rapid population growth which has resulted in several negative effects including soil erosion, flooding and climate change among others (Nduwamungu, 2011). From 2008, the government has been addressing this problem of massive deforestation through afforestation and reforestation (USAID, 2017). However, despite great efforts that are being put in conserving forests, the population’s demand for wood, either in form of timber, firewood or charcoal, is far greater that the supply (MINIRENA, 2017). This high demand for forest products leads to overexploitation of forest especially in private owned forests and this in turn leads to deforestation. 

To deal with the issue of deforestation resulting from cooking purpose, the government collaborated with the private sector through its Programme of ‘Made in Rwanda’ in which it is encouraging and supporting private investment. Hence, in 2009, Rwanda Agribusiness Industries Limited introduced precooked beans as a solution to increased wood use, though the company closed in 2015 due to mismanagement (Farmfresh, 2017). In the same year, a new company producing the same product, Farmfresh Food Company, was started in Rwanda and continued the precooked beans production (Farmfresh, 2017). 

Precooked beans are processed beans which require 5 to 15 minutes to be ready for consumption (Aseete et al., 2018). Although precooked beans industry has enough processing equipment to sustain the market, its products are not familiar to consumers, thus their current production is about 100 metric tons per month (Farmfresh, 2017). Precooked beans industry sources raw material (dry beans) from Sarura Cooperative and hence contribute significantly to the socio-economic benefits of the cooperative members through improving their income and providing employment (Farmfresh, 2017). 

Precooked beans are produced using electricity and since they are pressure-cooked in bulk, using energy efficient facilities, low energy is used to cook them. Therefore, their use can be financially and environmentally profitable (Aseete et al., 2018). Precooked beans in Rwanda have a great number of potential consumers including over 1.2 million people counted in the middle class (Farmfresh, 2017) and institutions serving beans to a large group of people. Thus, the use of precooked beans by those consumers would considerably ease the pressure that is being put on forests. Furthermore, time otherwise spent in cooking dry beans would be significantly saved and can be used for other economic activities. 

Institutions feeding large groups of people such as schools are one category of big consumers of beans. By consuming beans in bulk they use huge quantities of firewood (REMA, 2009). Thus, by shifting from consuming traditional dried beans to consuming precooked beans, they are also likely to reduce considerably the wood fuel used to cook beans. Moreover, all costs associated with getting the wood fuel, the quantity of water required, the amount of labour used for cooking beans as well as the time spent in cooking beans will be significantly reduced. This, in turn, will greatly help the government to conserve the environment. 

Statement of the problem 
Today, the government of Rwanda is greatly concerned with the problem of deforestation, driven by high demand for wood products, especially charcoal and firewood. The concern arises from the feeling that deforestation is a main source of climate change which is hindering agriculture production, thus compromising attainment of food security. One area of specific concern is the high and inefficient wood fuel use in at least 90% of households and institutions in the cooking of some food products including dry beans. Though beans are central to attainment of food security, the long time it takes to cook them is in particular a major cause of massive deforestation. To counter this, precooked bean products were introduced in Rwanda in 2009. However, their rate of use is still low and this may be due to the fact that their benefits are not well known. This study, therefore, intended to identify challenges hindering the use of precooked bean products among boarding secondary schools in Rwanda. Likewise, it intended to evaluate the environmental and economic benefits that would result from shifting from dry beans to precooked beans consumption. 

Objectives of the study 
General objective 
The general aim of this study was to promote environment friendly consumption patterns among Rwandan institutional consumers through revealing potential economic and environmental benefits of using precooked beans. 

Specific objectives 
i. To identify constraints hindering the use of precooked beans among schools. 
ii. To determine factors influencing the willingness of schools to use precooked beans. 
iii. To evaluate potential economic and environmental effects of shifting from dry beans to precooked beans among schools. 

Research questions 
i. Which constraints have hindered the use of precooked beans among schools? 
ii. What factors influence the willingness of schools to switch from dry to precooked beans? 
iii. What are the economic and environmental implications of using precooked beans? 

Justification of the study 
Energy is considered by the Government of Rwanda as a key factor of sustainable development. However, most of the energy sources in Rwanda such as hydro sources, methane gas, solar and peat deposits are not yet fully exploited. As such, wood is still the main source of energy for 80% of Rwandan population, being used mainly for cooking purpose. This has resulted in a massive deforestation across the country as well as indoor air pollution, with consequent effects on the environment. To counteract this, one of Rwanda’ s Vision 2020 energy targets is to reduce wood fuel consumption from 94% to 50%. To achieve this target, the government is encouraging the use of gas and other alternatives. However, due to the long duration of beans preparation, it is too costly to cook them using gas. As a result, they are still mostly prepared with wood. This represents a great limitation to the achievement of the wood fuel target since beans remain the staple food for households and institutions in the country. 

Findings from this study contribute towards the development of short and long-term policy interventions aimed at lowering pressure on the forest resources in the country. Also by informing about the benefits of precooked beans, the findings of the study encourage people to shift from consuming dry beans to consuming precooked beans. Thus, this study contributes towards conserving environment, saving time of individuals and institutions and sustaining the manufacturer’s business. Moreover, the results of this study also provided insight towards further studies in related areas. 

Scope, limitations and assumptions of the study 
Scope of the study 
The study was carried out in sampled boarding secondary schools across the country and the results can be generalised to other institutional consumers of beans. 

Limitations of the study 
The collected data was limited to cross sectional data. Another limitation of this study is that it does not involve individual consumers while they are the potential consumers of precooked beans too. 

Assumptions of the study 
The study assumed that all the sampled boarding secondary schools consume beans. It also assumed that all the sampled boarding secondary schools have not yet used precooked beans, reason why the study is an ex-ante evaluation. Further, the study assumed that all respondents have at least a secondary school education level. 

1.7.Definition of terms 
Institutional consumers: refer to institutions that usually feed people they are in charge of. In this study, institutional consumers are boarding secondary schools and people to be fed are students. 

Dry beans: known as Phaseolus vulgaris L. are common beans that have been dried in order to preserve them for future use. 

Precooked beans: refer to packed beans that have been processed using pressure cooking and that require 5 to 15 minutes to be reheated before consumption. 

Ex-ante evaluation: is the examination of the anticipated impacts of a planned programme or project. 

Compatibility: refers to the degree to which a given innovation is perceived to meet consumer needs. 

Complexity: is the degree to which consumers perceive an innovation as relatively difficult to understand and use. 

Relative advantage: refers to the degree to which an innovation is perceived as being better than the preceding or competing product(s). Caterer: in this context is defined as the person who makes decision of what to buy for students’ food consumption (i.e head masters/mistresses or caterers).

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