A case study of the functions of rural markets in Kisumu District
This thesis examines the functions of rural markets in a section of Kenya - Kisumu District. It describes and analysis the sellers' and buyers behavior. It also describes the economic significance of these rural markets. The author hopes that such an/analysis and description will bring to record the important aspects typical of a rural market, and how its trade can be improved for the benefit of traders and consumers who interact in these rural markets. Out of the 107 markets in the district, 10 were randomly selected for the purpose of the study. The ten markets were then stratified into two groups, buyers and sellers, from which samples were drawn. A total of 586 successful interviews were carried out. As for data •collection, this was done through interview from / structured questionnaires, direct observation and census counts. By interviewing the traders and consumers it was possible to collect information on consumer behavior and trader characteristics. Three basic items have been examined in this study; First, the functional role of markets has been discussed. It was found the markets act as Economic Institutions as well as social institutions. As economic institutions, markets can be classified as Retail markets, Wholesale markets are both Wholesale and retail. Markets also act as a social gathering venue where young men and women usually meet for courtship and village elders meet to discuss their homestead problems. Therefore, markets serve multifunctional roles. They are both an economic and social institutions where relatives and friends meet and gossip in a relaxed atmosphere. The second feature analysis is the market traders' and consumers 'behavior the study revealed that there are two types of sellers - part time sellers who indicated that market selling was secondary to their main occupation and full time sellers who are professional traders. The part time trader usually visits one or two markets which are nearer to his homestead while the professional visits as many as four or three markets in a week. The professional trader earns his income through the market trade. On the ether hand for consumers the study revealed that Buyers are net willing to travel to many markets to buy. That is consumers tent to visit the home market to purchase foodstuffs. However, they visit other distant markets to purchase manufacture'. Goods such as Clothes, plates and furniture • .Third, it also describes the economic significance of these markets mainly in terms of cash generated from them employment offered, and their role as communication center's.Sellers interviewed stated that they value the market because it is a Source of cash which they can use to pay school fees, buy clothing and food'. Markets also offer self employment to ,unemployed. Various hypothesis were also tested. The tests revealed that: (i) There is a significant relationship between Population density of the location and the market size. (ii) The number of markets 1s not related to the physical size of the location. iii) There is significant relationship between the number of markets in a location and the population of the location. iv) There is no significant relationship between the assortment of goods in a market and the distance of the market from a major town. v) The size of the market is related to the level of incomes of the people in the surrounding area. vi) There is a significant relationship Between the assortment of goods displayed in the market and market size in terms of attendance.