Barley crop is one of the most important cereal crops cultivated by smallholder farmers in North Gondar Zone because they derive benefits such as income, source of food and rural employment. In addition barley is becoming an important market oriented crop in Ethiopia. In spite of the policy decision of the Government of Ethiopia to commercialize subsistence agriculture, there is a lack of information on the commercialization process and marketing behavior of smallholder barley farmers In North Gondar Zone. This study analyzes factors that influence smallholder barley producerâ€™s market orientation and market participation. It also examines whether market orientation translated in to market participation. A random sampling technique was employed to select 199 barley producers from sampled kebeles in the study area. Both descriptive and econometric methods were used to analyze the data. The result showed that the average level of market orientation index for barely was 0.26, indicating moderate level of households market orientation in the study area, while the average crop output market participation was 57%, also indicating semi commercialized farmers. Multiple regression models were applied to identify factors influencing market orientation and market input participation. The result of multiple regression model indicated membership of cooperative, tropical livestock unit, land cultivated for barely, land fragmentation, access to market information and extension service affect market orientation positively and negatively, while sex of household, oxen owned and market information affect market participation at input side. Tobit model was estimated to identify the factors influencing market output participation. The result of tobit model showed that market access, institutional and market orientation were significantly influenced the market participation. Moreover, the result also showed that market orientation translates strongly into market participation. The key implication of this study is that interventions aimed at enabling access to market information, extension services and training should enhance market orientation, participation and commercialization of smallholder barely producers.
Keywords: Barley, commercialization, market orientation, tobit model and market participation