From the study, I understood that the vegetable market price fluctuates from season to season.
Following the recent fasting period, the price of vegetables has been significantly increased.
Here are simple quantitative figures about this fact. For example, around December 2021, the price of chili was between 28-35 ETB/kg depending on the quality of the produce, whereas, now, it is between 60-70 ETB/kg.
Furthermore, at that time, farmers sold fossolia to the union at 29.50 ETB/kg, whereas, other farmers who don’t have an agreement (contract farming) with the union sold their fossolia at about 15 ETB/kg at the local market. Selling to the union was very profitable for farmers at that time but now, it is the reverse because the price of fossolia at the marketplace has reached 33 ETB/kg and that of the union is stagnant i.e. 29.50 ETB/kg, since the farmers already signed an agreement.
All the above price fluctuations could be associated with factors like:
- Demand-Supply Issues
Despite vegetable production being done throughout the year in the area, the amount of the produce (land coverage) varies from season to season. During the summer season, farmers do not prefer to cultivate/plant vegetables like chili, fossolia, onion, and tomatoes on irrigation farmlands. Why? Because they are very susceptible to different diseases and pests during the summer seasons. Secondly, there are severe erosion problems. Thirdly, rainfall attracts several fungal diseases. As a result, the supply of the produce is low and that resulted in high prices for the produce.
- Fasting Period
At this time, the demand for vegetables will be high. At the same time, the vegetable prices will also be high.
- The contract farming practice itself
Some strategies to improve the farmers’ productivity:
- Re-scheduling production seasons (targeting fasting period).
That means vegetable producers need to be targeting the fasting period
- Using Diversification Approaches
It can be said that almost all farmers (who have irrigable land) and investors cultivate vegetables of similar type. This means, there will be surplus production of the same vegetable types. This will result in a high supply and low price. Hence, cultivating different vegetables can minimize the problem.