Access to markets for smallholder poultry farmers is crucial for exploiting the potential of poultry production to contribute to increasing cash incomes of rural households engaged in mixed crop-livestock production systems. Drawing on a sample of 360 households situated in the highlands, midlands, and lowlands of two provinces in northern Viet Nam, this study shows that market access is largely determined by the geographic location of the households in relation to main market centres. The constraints posed by weak market infrastructure and poor access to livestock services particularly in the highlands, and to a certain extent in the midlands, are found to be far more adverse on traditional small-scale producers than on semi-commercial smallholder poultry producers. Choice of main market outlets is also heavily influenced by proximity to market centres, with itinerant village traders gaining in importance as market outlet as scale of smallholder production increases. Itinerant traders are the main link between smallholder producers and consumers in larger urban centres, largely through informal market chains.
The paper argues that policy and institutional changes directed at making these informal market chains more efficient and safe through improved marketing infrastructure and services would be far more effective tools in improving market access by smallholder producers, particularly in the more remote uplands, than the imposition of restrictions aimed at curtailing the market power of itinerant traders.
PPLPI, FAO, Rome, Italy, 14 pp.