In Uganda, smallholder maize farmers produce nearly 100% of the maize grain. However, these farmers sell their produce at low prices thus discouraging market participation. In addition, farmers are faced with several internal and external challenges like lack of market information and high observable and non-observable transaction costs. Several entities constructed a 3000 metric tons storage facility to help farmers bulk their produce and sell at better prices. The facility uses group formation to ensure increased market participation by smallholder maize farmers. However, since 1999, the facility has been underutilized. This study employed a cross sectional survey of 253 smallholder maize famers in Masindi district. The farmers were in two strata of participants in collective marketing through MSGGL and non-participants. Benefits of group membership include access to training, marketing, credit, storage, input supply and value addition. Group disagreements were the major threat to group activities mainly due to lack of trust, delayed payment, diversion from inputs and unequal distribution of inputs. Factors like income of farmer, number of extension visits received by farmer on maize production, distance to the nearest marketing centre and price per kilogramme offered in the last season significantly influenced the farmers’ decision to participate in collective marketing. It is recommended that the extension system in Uganda be emphasized to train farmers on better methods of maize production and marketing to achieve quantity and quality requirements for better market participation. There is also need to establish more groups and collection centres in places more accessible to farmers.
Key words: Market participation, smallholder maize farmers, collective action.
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