An assessment of the trends in cattle market performance in Juba and Terekeka counties of South Sudan
Jor, Deng D
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The performance of cattle marketing system in South Sudan is not well understood, though cattle are one of the significant agricultural commodities on the market in South Sudan, and also . despite the great social and economic importance of cattle for South Sudan's rural and urban populations. There are uncertainties over whether the Comprehensive Peace Agreement (CPA) that was signed in 2005 has had a significant effect on the cattle market performance. There was thus a need to assess the trends in the cattle market performance in South Sudan during and after the civil conflict in the country by comparing the trends in the marketing margins for different marketing agents and by assessing the effect of marketing costs on marketing margins for the different market actors before and after the CPA in 2005. In this regard, the study used the Fixed Effects model utilizing Panel Data and analytical approaches based on the farm value, wholesale-to-retail margins and farm-to-retail price spread. The data were collected through personal interviews of the farmers, cattle traders and butchers who constituted a total of 140 respondents of which 129 respondents were located in Juba and Terekeka counties. The two counties were selected for the survey because they are able to represent the three levels of the cattle markets, namely rural or primary, secondary and terminal markets. The hypotheses of the study were that the trends in the marketing margins for the cattle market chain actors are not different and marketing margins do not depend on the marketing costs for the cattle marketing chain actors in South Sudan. The study found that the cattle traders handled the highest average number of cattle (491.3) heads and the age groups of the three market agents involved in the cattle trade were at the average ages ranging between about 33 and 35 years old. There are high illiteracy rates among the cattle marketing actors represented by low average levels of education ranging from about 1.15 to 9.28 years of school attendance. A.verage price of different types of cattle has increased by almost three fold after the Comprehensive Peace Agreement (CPA). The prices are influenced by factors such as marketing costs, infrastructure, distance to the market and insecurity, good health and color of cattle. The study finds that the marketing marg'ins for the farmers fluctuated from about 44 to 75 percent of the level in the base year 2005 before the CPA and from about 112 to 147 percent of the level in the base year 2005 after the CPA. In case of the cattle traders, the study found that their marketing margins ranged between about 32 and 74 percent of the level in the base year 2005 before the CPA and from about 109 to 138 percent of the level in the base year 2005 after the CPA. This implies that the farmers were getting better marketing margins than the cattle traders before and after the Comprehensive Peace Agreement (CPA) in 2005, and this could be due to the high marketing and transactions costs incurred by the traders compared to the marketing costs incurred by the farmers, because cattle traders paid additional costs as they took their cattle from the rural to the terminal markets in the urban areas. At the retail level, the study found that the marketing margms for the butchers were systematically decreasing before and after the CPA, ranging between about 58 and 65 percent of the level in the base year 2005 before the CPA and from about 93 to 99 percent of the level in the base year 2005 after the peace accord. This could be due to high marketing costs and fixed marketing margins following regulatory conditions in the urban areas. Regression analysis results indicate that- marketing margins are wholly determined by the marketing costs. The study found that government intervention and regulatory environment in terms of the taxes after the Comprehensive Peace Agreement (CPA) to have had a negative influence on the marketing margins, especially at the wholesale sector. Therefore, there is need to review government intervention and see how appropriate policies can be developed to improve cattle trade in South Sudan. The poor marketing infrastructure reduces the benefits accrued to the cattle marketing chain actors. Therefore, the government should facilitate trade by investing in different aspects of the infrastructure, namely roads, water points, slaughtering houses and communications. In addition, the extension services are important at this stage of the development in the area, as the majority , of the market chain agents have low levels of education, especially among the farmers. The study found that one of the causes of the poor veterinary care is lack of credit to the farmers and also some cattle traders.