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Unlocking Market Potential of Agroforestry Products among Rural Smallholder Farmers in the Sahelian and Sudanian Ecozone Countries of West Africa.

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In the Sahelian countries, gathering of agroforestry tree products is one of the few livelihood activities that hold great potential for income generation and poverty reduction among resource-poor households. This study explores the determinants of market participation and selling decisions, which are key prerequisites for sustainable intensification and commercialization of the rural economy. A commercialized economy provides invaluable opportunities for smallholder farmers to increase their income and escape from poverty traps that are faced by most rural households in the Sahel. The results from a cross-sectional sample of 1080 households drawn from four Sahelian countries, namely Mali, Niger, Burkina Faso and Senegal, lend support to the relevance of three sets of variables in explaining agroforestry farmers’ participation in markets and selling decisions. Market participation and selling decisions are affected by predisposing, facilitatingandreinforcing factors. In areas where markets for tree products are functioning well, long distances from the main markets do not deter agroforestry farmers from participating in markets and selling decisions. This demonstrates that other interventions to strengthen value chains and market integration can be successful even where transportation is more costly.

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