Markets are stimuli for improved farm production and quality produce. Therefore, integrating rural households into market systems is essential for improved standard of living. Increased market access and commercialization makes households dependent on markets for services including food for consumption. This reduces dependency on own food consumption which in most cases offers limited variety foods as compared to market purchases. Paradoxically, increased production of cash crops displaces staple food crop production which compromises household consumption of the latter thus increasing vulnerability to food insecurity and malnutrition. Understanding the role of increased market access and participation to improved household nutrition through; increased consumption of nutritious foods, increased incomes, and increased nutrition value-addition transactions is crucial at this time when commercialization campaigns are at its highest. This study sought to determine the relationship between market access and nutritional security in addition to factors that influence farmers’ market access and improved nutrition among smallholder maize farmers. The study employed a cross sectional survey design in the districts of Masindi and Kiryandongo. The target population was divided into two strata (market participants and non-participants). Descriptive statistics and the Binary Probit Model were used in analysis. The results indicate a significant relationship between nutrition status and market participation. Experience in maize production, formal education, household size, access to extension and access to credit significantly influenced market access and improved nutrition. The study recommends increased efforts on provision of extension services, mobilising farmers into saving groups for increased savings and credit availability for investment.
Key words: Market access, food and nutritional security and smallholder maize farmers.
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