Assessment of skills gap among intermediaries of cotton supply chain in Punjab, Pakistan
Cotton is an important crop in Pakistan as it contributes 1.0% of GDP and 5.1% in agricultural value addition (GOP, 2017). Despite the fact that cotton value chain has strategic importance in Pakistan in terms of its contributions towards GDP, employment, export earnings, poverty alleviation, and empowerment of women, its real value has not yet been realized. One area that has an effect on income of farmers and that has not received attention is the role of middleman in the agricultural marketing. The aims of this study were to address the skill gap of the commission agents and to develop techniques to bridge those gaps. Random sampling technique was used to determine sample size. The total sample size of the study was 50 respondents. SPSS (Statistical Package for Social Sciences) was employed to analyze the collected data. Results show that most of the respondents were in their productive ages to make effective decisions and understand features of doing business. Of the total respondents 6% had no education while 94% had education of varied level. Respondents were experienced in doing business of cotton marketing. Most of the commission agents were having awareness gap regarding quality characteristics of cotton. Commission agents had moderate skills level in management of various marketing costs. Mostly the commission agents were not considering fiber fineness, fiber length, fiber strength, fiber maturity and contamination due to hair as factors towards low prices and poor quality of cotton. Weak capacity of institutional infrastructure and lack of marketing system was the major constraint in marketing of cotton. Commission agents should be equipped with training regarding maintenance of quality attributes, management of marketing costs and controlling of various factors affecting price and quality of cotton.
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