Building Local


The Building Local Economies: How farmers make markets work for them (BLE) project was based in the Umkhanyakude District in KwaZulu-Natal and the first phase took place over seven months from October 2014 to April 2015. Through the study, SAFL aimed to map smallholder farmers’ market segments and identify the challenges they experienced in attempting to access new markets. The first phase of the BLE study was limited to 161 market-oriented farmers in loose or tight value chains, 24 market representatives, and 5

government representatives.


SAFL developed a research report and a profile of a typical smallholder farmer in Umkhanyakude. The report is available here.


SAFL then successfully submitted another proposal to the Government of Flanders in order to synthesise the findings of the first phase with those of a similar project conducted by the National Agricultural Marketing Council (NAMC) in the Mopani district in Limpopo.


SAFL also partnered with NAMC to develop a research tool that can be used by other organisations to map market segmentation across South Africa.

This work thus stands as a pilot for future iterations of the same study, using the questionnaires and databanks that were developed during the process. A roll-out of the questionnaires across the rest of the country would contribute to a national overview of smallholder market access.


A short animation about the tool can be watched here, whilst a short report about the toolkit can be downloaded here.


For further information, please contact the project manager, Dr Anri Manderson at

Project Details


Government of Flanders (through the South African Treasury)


Oct 2014


March 2016




Key Outputs

Research tool: Set of 3 market segmentation questionnaires with databanks

Final research report

Report summary