Determinants of sorghum adoption and land allocation intensity in the smallholder sector of semi-arid Zimbabwe

Joseph P. Musara, Lovemore Musemwa, Munyaradzi Mutenje, Abbyssinia Mushunje, Charles Pfukwa


Sorghum is important for sustainability of smallholder farmers’ subsistence, social and economic livelihoods in semi-arid and arid environments of Southern Africa. However, production of the crop has been on the decline in the smallholder communities of semi-arid Zimbabwe. The study examines factors affecting smallholder farmers’ inclination towards producing sorghum and allocating differential land proportions towards the crop. The paper uses a double hurdle estimation approach with cross-sectional survey data from 380 small holder sorghum farmers in the Mid Zambezi region. Frequency of contact with relatives, duration of receiving subsidies and the number of groups to which household members belonged had a robust influence (p<0.01) on the adoption decision. Market frequency, availability of storage facilities and the number of buyers in the market significantly (p<0.01) influenced the land allocation decision. Variables influencing the two decisions are not necessarily the same showing independence in the decisions. However, information flow from networks and conditions of market platforms remain important variables in the two decisions. It is important to decentralise sorghum markets, strengthen local networks of kinships and increase the scope of inclusive and responsive formal extension delivery systems. Storage facilities can also be developed in partnership with private players to allow for sales during market windows which generates higher returns for the small holder sorghum farmers.


double hurdle; sorghum systems; smallholder farmer; semi-arid; networking

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DOI: 10.5424/sjar/2019171-13115