Analysing fertiliser buying behaviour of emerging farmers in the Free State Province
Fertilizer plays a major role in the profitability of the farmer’s business, his/her future success as well as the sustainability of his business. Fertilizer is also one of the most expensive farm inputs, and therefore, has the ability to make or break the farmer. The emerging farmer market segment is expanding and holds a great deal of potential for fertilizer companies to supply the growing need of fertilizer in this market. Almost all fertilizer marketing strategies of South African companies have been designed to cater for the commercial farming sector; however, if fertilizer suppliers want to focus on the emerging farmer market segment, they need to understand buying behaviour of emerging farmers as well as their needs when developing strategies to utilize opportunities in this developing market. This study aims to do just that by identifying factors playing an important role in the buying behaviour of emerging farmers in the Free State when purchasing fertilizer. This study was conducted in two phases. During phase one, a literature review was conducted; phase two consisted of an empirical study. Questionnaires were used as a measuring instrument and were filled out by 32 participants to determine emerging farmer buying behaviour. Data was analysed by means of descriptive statistics and correlation analyses. The Coefficient of Cronbach’s Alpha was employed to verify the validity of the data. The results show that four (4) factors; (i) Service, (ii). Brand, (iii) Product and (iv). Learning/Psychological factors highly influence emerging farmers’ fertilizer purchase decision. The study also finally draws recommendations and conclusions for managerial perusal.