Access to urban markets for small-scale producers of indigenous cereals: A qualitative study of consumption practices and potential demand among urban consumers in Polokwane

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Oxford, UK: Routledge, part of the Taylor & Francis Group


This paper is based on a qualitative study conducted on an urban area of the Limpopo province in South Africa. The objective of the study was to describe who, where, how and when are sorghum and millet consumed. Also, how consumers perceive the grains, do they accept small-scale produce and to estimate the possible demand for indigenous cereals. Women were interviewed due to their role as food providers. Men were also interviewed as consumers, but also because they are often responsible for doing the shopping. Results show that sorghum is largely consumed by all in the forms of soft, thick, and fermented porridge, and as beer as well. Beer is brewed at home in households with closer rural links, but both men and women drink beer. Men over 40 are the regular customers of the home-brewers. Sorghum is perceived to be a healthy nutritious food and it is recommended by doctors and churches. Millet on the other hand is not as easily accessible in this area, and it is considered to be old-fashion. Only households with closer rural links and with older people consume millet. Respondents seemed receptive and supportive to small-scale farmers as they acknowledge the struggles that small-scale farmers face. These difficulties include lack of land, skills, equipment and inputs, lack of water, and lack of access to markets. Some respondents even believe that local small-scale farmers' products are of better quality. These trends could represent an opportunity for small-scale farmers.


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Markets, Women, Gender, Men, Methodology, Small-scale farming, South africa, Households, Access to urban markets, Indigenous cereals, Sorghum and millet consumed


Development Southern Africa 22(1): 125-141