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Rural-Urban Dynamics in the East African Mountains

Sylvain Racaud
Bob R. Nakileza
François Bart
et al.

Part 4

11. The dynamics and resilience of periodic markets in the Mt Elgon Region Uganda: a geographical perspective

Paul Mukwaya

Texte intégral

1One of the most characteristic features of the space economy and marketing landscape in developing countries is the ‘market’, « an organized public gathering of buyers and sellers of commodities meeting at an appointed place at regular intervals » (Hodder 1965). A well-known feature of many of the market sites is their periodicity of occurrence where buyers and sellers converge on a given location each day, or every second, third, or nth day (Fagerlund and Smith 1970). Smith (1979) reports that periodic marketing and periodic market places as a phenomenon can be considered in the context of what Mintz (1971) termed an ‘internal marketing system’. Mintz (1971) argued that when a society possesses an organised framework for the conduct of economic exchanges – customary centres of exchange with their aggregates of buyers and sellers, a calendar of market days, and the features giving exchanges regularity and a predictable form –, it possesses an internal marketing system (Mintz 1971). Even where they eventually become embedded in towns or villages, the clientele they are designed to serve is principally rural (Hodder 1969). There is also a distinct tendency for periodic markets to build into mutually dependent systems of interconnected and non-competitive market days and places (Bromley, Symanski and Good 1975).

2At the market locations, economic and other exchanges occur according to a well organized temporal schedule: they comprise streams of people and goods which change direction, trajectory and velocity of movement as a result of meeting at particular points in space and time (Filani and Richards 1976). This temporal frequency of occurrence distinguishes periodic (or episodic, or recurrent) markets from continuous or daily markets. A periodic market place has a set schedule of market meetings separated by market-less days, or by days on which the level of activity is substantially less than on the main market day.

3Most areas of the world with periodic markets have sufficient trading activity to support full-time fixed traders dealing in most types of merchandise. Indeed, periodic markets often coexist with fixed shops which sell the same types of goods. In spite of the possibility of daily operation, however, many markets persist on a periodic basis. The economic and occupational profile of most traditionally agrarian populations is such that only a small proportion of market places, most often those located in substantial urban centres, can be supported on a daily basis. Consequently, a majority of rural markets are characterized by periodicity, by mobility of sellers (among locations and productive activities), and by agglomerations of sellers. Marketing calendars are social and cultural in origin. They not only regulate the frequency of a market and define the length of the « market week » for a given area, but also often have a pervasive, subtle impact on other aspects of economic and social life which is only remotely associated with markets (Good 1975).

Theoretical framework

Central place theory and periodic markets

4A periodic market system involves four basic elements. The first is market function and includes the local exchange, internal trade, and central place facets of market activity. The second element, form, must account for the existing pattern of market sites on the landscape, including the periodicity factor and the formation of interlocking market rings. Third, interaction, the movement of goods and traders, will appear as a correlate of market function and form. Finally, drawing upon observed generalizations of function, form, and interaction, one can make inferences about the process by which the periodic market system has been spatially extended to new sites and how the system has evolved in response to exogenous forces (Porter 1993).

5Two main theories emerge from research to date, to determine the genesis of periodic markets. The first is what Richa (2011) refers to as the indigenous concept which argues that periodic markets developed as a result of internal demand for exchange of goods and services among local communities. The second is the exogenous concept which credits external stimuli, such as the incursion into a local area of long distance traders, for the start of periodic markets (Richa 2011). The movement of the traders to be near their customers on set occasions is more efficient than the customers travelling long distances to permanent markets much less frequently.

6An economic theory on periodic markets was elaborated by Stine in 1962. Stine’s theory relied heavily on Christaller’s Central Place Theory’s concepts of minimum and maximum range of a good service: the minimum range is defined as the « minimum amount of consumption of the central good needed to pay for the production or offering of the central good », while the maximum range refers to the « farthest distance the dispersed population is willing to go in order to buy a good offered at a place ». Usually the maximum range is larger than the minimum range (thus enabling retail establishments to be locationally fixed), but where the minimum range exceeds the maximum, the establishment must become mobile (that is, the market must occur periodically) in order to survive. Stine (1962) worked with major concepts of central place theory to predict mobile firms and periodic market places: threshold, minimum and maximum range, and symmetry of market areas. He analysed the distance people are ready to go to obtain goods, how settlements are distributed over space and the tributary or market area, the bigger the settlement, the more the tributary area, but sometimes with the area of the smaller tributary nesting within that of a bigger settlement. Stine (1962) argued that the minimum range of goods is the circular area of demand required to support a single viable firm. Without the support of this threshold demand, the firm would not be able to survive. The maximum range of goods is the actual area of demand for it – the distance which people are willing to travel to a supplier and beyond which they are not. The price of goods, elasticity of demand and the minimum profit necessary for a firm’s survival plays a role in determining these ranges. Stine (1962) noted that where the maximum range exceeds the minimum range, the firm will prosper. He also noted that where the minimum range exceeds the maximum range, the suppliers cannot survive without a change in strategy. By becoming mobile, however, the trader can expand their minimum range without requiring a shift in demand of the customers – i.e. by moving their place of business periodically they can tap a wider area of demand, meeting the distance requirements of their customers.

7Stine (1962) suggested that the relationship between the maximum range and minimum ranges would determine the amount of firm mobility: where the minimum range is larger than the maximum, the firm would be mobile; and where the two ranges coincide, or the maximum is larger than the minimum, the firm would be permanent. The mobile firm obviously would be convenienced by periodic markets especially if they occurred on different days of the week. By visiting a different market each day, they can contact a far wider range of customers than by travelling door to door. Thus periodic markets are seen by Stine (1962) as rational innovations to give itinerant traders a greater turnover. He postulated that they will be found in areas of low demand and will decline in importance with greater commercialization and improved transport of an area.

8Bromley (1980) has suggested that Stine “neglected to point out two additional strategies the trader can adopt when demand is too low to sustain their trading activities. First, they can diversify the goods they sell until they offer such a variety that local demand is sufficient to offer them a reasonable living. Second, the trader can engage in some other economic activity as well as trading”. Webber and Symanski (1973) argue that periodicity depends only on the fact that characteristically low levels of disposable income in less-developed economies permit sellers to concentrate sales in a relatively short time span. The mobility and immobility of sellers, their decision to agglomerate, and the profitability of specialization depend broadly on the mix of transport economies and size of agglomeration. Sellers choose either full-time or part-time activity according to their density of profit per unit length of the market, transport costs relative to consumer travel costs and overheads.

Resilience theory

9Resilience is the capacity of a system to continually change and adapt yet remain within critical thresholds. Since the introduction of the concept of resilience in 1973 by the ecologist Holling, the concept was initially applied by systems ecologists to describe the ability of some biotic systems to maintain systemic coherence in the face of disturbances (Holling 1973). The process of continuous survival and coping even in the hardest of situations is called “resilience”. Meanwhile, using the concept of resilience, some scholars have highlighted the characteristics of resilient systems as being able to cope with external shocks and surprises. The resilience of the system, it is argued, increases when a disturbance is experienced. Each time a system faces a disturbance, it gains more resistance, and functions better when facing further disturbances. Thus, resilience is not just concerned with preventing disturbances: it is also concerned with adaptation to change. In literature, emphasis has often been on preparation for, and effective action after a disturbance occurs.

10Conceptually, Pendall, Foster, and Cowell (2007) identify four broad themes associated with the concept of resilience: equilibrium, path-dependence, a systems perspective and a long-term perspective. These themes provide a useful starting point for thinking about what periodic market resilience could mean. First, the resilience metaphor presumes that the phenomenon equilibrium, which refers to the ability to return to a pre-existing state in a single equilibrium system, occurs in the presence of some type of exogenous shock. This would mean the extent to which a periodic market that has experienced an external shock is able to return to its previous level and/or growth rate of activity. Secondly, a systems perspective defines resilience in terms of complex adaptive systems and relates to the ability of a system to adapt and change in response to stresses and strains. Some factors internal to the system, and some external to it, tend to strengthen it; others - again, both internal and external - can place it under stress. The observed equilibrium is path-dependent, that is, it is a consequence of cumulative decisions, often over a long time period, that shift a system from having a very open future to having increasingly predictable (or “locked-in”) paths. The idea of path-dependence, or historical “lock-in,” is based on the assumption that a periodic market has multiple equilibria, not all of which are efficient (in a static and/or dynamic sense).

11Finally, resilience takes a long view, whether of individuals or of periodic markets. In a periodic market sense this would include variables that persist over a long period of time and the economic, political, and social institutions that condition this structure of periodic marketing systems. If periodic markets are considered as system, they are subjected to environmental, social and economic disturbances, and the threats and new opportunities these bring. However, if they adapt to these disturbances, their adaptations are mainly about securing their current or future interests.

12The paper conceptualizes periodic market resilience as the ability of a market to recover successfully from shocks to its economy that throw it substantially off its prior growth path and cause an economic downturn or have the potential to throw it off its growth path, but do not actually do so. A vital part of the larger picture of market resilience is the capacity of a periodic market to prepare for, withstand, and recover from major disasters or other circumstances which threaten or disrupt normal operations. Periodic market resilience can be conceived as having two main components: market planning and preparation for disruptive events before they happen, and business continuity, or the capacity to maintain or restore operations once a disruptive event occurs. In addition to business continuity, periodic market resilience is also concerned with operational continuity for other mission-critical functions of the market. It should be noted that resilience was used here in the context of the increasing multiplication of periodic market centres, increased number of traders (suppliers/sellers), number of market stalls, increased volume of goods in the market, and therefore a larger number of buyers/customers. Shocks can be of several kinds: 1) shocks caused by downturns in the national economy (national economic downturn shocks); 2) shocks caused by downturns in particular products that constitute an important component of the market base (industry shocks); 3) other external shocks (a natural disaster, cattle rustling, movement of an important trader out of the area, etc.); 4) shocks arising out of structural change from global or domestic competition, from changes in the market’s competitive advantage for various products, and/or from changes in consumer demand for products the market deals in; 5) shocks from competition with other neighbouring periodic markets and the high prevalence of rural retail shops.

13Given the porous boundaries of market areas, the constant flow of goods and people in and out, and the turbulence of national and international markets, it is not enough for periodic market areas to simply maintain the status quo. Periodic markets must constantly reinvent themselves or they will fall further and further behind. In this paper the four cluster of factors that have been identified as building resilience in large-scale social-ecological systems – i.e. learning to live with change and uncertainty; nurturing diversity; combining different types of knowledge and learning and creating opportunity for self-organisation and cross-scale linkages – are applied at the periodic market level.

14As figure 38 illustrates, periodic markets that experience shocks may exhibit three different kinds of responses. Some of these markets may have returned to or exceeded their previous growth path within a relatively short period of time (definitional concerns dealt with below); these markets might be called economically resilient. Some may not have been thrown off their growth path at all; these regions might be called shock-resistant. Finally, some markets may have been unable to rebound and return to or exceed their previous path; these might be called non-resilient.

Figure 38. The concept of periodic market resilience. (Based on Hill et al. 2011)

Figure 38. The concept of periodic market resilience. (Based on Hill et al. 2011)

The setting and empirical case: Mt Elgon periodic marketing system

15Mt. Elgon region is found in Eastern Uganda approximately 100 km northeast of Lake Victoria on the Kenya–Uganda border. The region is dominated by the dormant volcano Mt. Elgon that rises to a height of 4,321 meters above sea level in the north. Along the mountain slopes live the Gishu and Sabiny as the dominant tribes. Data from the recent national population and housing census conducted in 2014 showed that by 2014, 1.8 million persons lived in the Mt. Elgon region which comprises of the eight administrative districts of Mbale, Bududa, Manafa, Sironko, Bulambuli, Kapchorwa, Bukwo and Kween. Other demographic indicators of the region are given in table 26. Mt. Elgon region was chosen for the present study because it has been an important agricultural region for a long time and has supplied rice, vegetables, and poultry to other parts of Uganda through a well developed marketing network. Also, some valuable historical data (since independence) were available that speaks about the resilience of periodic marketing systems in the region.

Table 26. Demographic characteristics of districts in the Mt. Elgon region (Republic of Uganda 2014)

Table 26. Demographic characteristics of districts in the Mt. Elgon region (Republic of Uganda 2014)

Figure 39. Mt. Elgon region in Uganda. Mt. Elgon administrative map from OPM (2015) and Uganda in Africa map.

Figure 39. Mt. Elgon region in Uganda. Mt. Elgon administrative map from OPM (2015) and Uganda in Africa map.

Hierarchy of periodic markets

16Periodic markets’ existence in Uganda during the pre-colonial, colonial and post independence period is clearly revealed by Good (1975), Hodder (1965), Andresile (1975), Madungha (1975) and Langlands (1975). At the time of this study, there had been virtually no current research on periodic markets in the country. For this particular task, data and information was largely compiled from unpublished records from four local government offices in Mbale, Manafa, Sironko and Kapchorwa. Additional details were obtained from unpublished theses at Makerere University. This was reinforced by field work conducted over a three years period (2008-2010). Several trips to each of the markets were made, during which semi-structured interviews with individuals who were either major “players” in market operations or local government administrators of the market were conducted. Additional telephone interviews with selected individuals within the region were made. Interviewees were identified through a “snowball” process that began through initial contacts we had in each region, with the list ultimately expanded through referrals to other potential interviewees and organizations of interest.

17Results presented in this paper are based on data and information for 56 of the estimated 77 markets (table 27) believed to exist in the Mt. Elgon region. Specific data collection included: days of market operation, size of market in terms of number of sellers, buyers; size of hinterland/market area and size of tax revenue. The criterion for inclusion was satisfaction of the definition of a market recorded by Hill and Smith (1972): an authorised public concourse of buyers and sellers of commodities meeting at a place more or less strictly limited or defined, at an appointed time.

Table 27. Number of markets selected in the Mt. Elgon region

Table 27. Number of markets selected in the Mt. Elgon region

Spatial and temporal characteristics of the markets

18Spatial analysis in geographical sciences is closely associated with the works of plant ecologists Clark and Evan who worked a statistical measure of the distribution of plants and deviation from it. Geographers more than any others, have pursued this method for purposes of distributional analyses of places and other phenomena. Given a certain area and a number of points, they statistically derived an expected mean spacing of points if their distribution was random (Clark and Evans 1954).

  • 1 The nearest neighbour statistic uses the concept of distance which is ambiguous. It doesn’t specify (...)

19To understand the temporal characteristics of periodic markets, records were obtained from both unpublished and published books, articles and local governmental reports on trade and markets. Evidence was also sought from topographic maps where available. Finally, manuscripts such as Colonial quarterly reports on the Bukedi Province, Eastern Uganda were also utilized. The primary source for this task involved the administration of interview schedules, and constituted the main source of data for the study. With this in mind, a description of the spatial distribution of markets in Mt. Elgon was considered a useful step in identifying the process which gives rise to their locational pattern. The nearest-neighbour statistic1 was used to describe the distributional pattern of periodic markets in Mt. Elgon. This statistic consists of a ratio between the actual average distance to nearest neighbour, and the expected mean distance to nearest neighbours, whether clustered, uniform or randomly distributed.

20This expected mean spacing or inter-place distance is compared with the observed mean distance in a region to see how far the actual distribution deviates from random distribution and in what direction. If the ratio of actual mean to expected mean is 1, the distribution is random in a mathematical sense; if less than 1, it is concentrated/clustered and the most concentrated distribution would give the ratio of zero, where all marketing services would be available only in a single market; if more than 1, it is regular, of which the maximum value may be 2.15.

Resilience of the periodic marketing process

21To capture this task, every effort was made to use what in social sciences has been described as ‘folk law’ to unearth the patterns of resilience of periodic markets in the Mt. Elgon region. Key informants in the study region were identified, and informal interviews were targeted at them to describe the reasons why periodic markets have persisted in the Mt. Elgon region. This was reinforced by reviews of available literature on the resilience of the periodic marketing system.

22The data was further studied with factor analysis in mind to identify the observed underlying structure in the data matrix of variables against which I could tell the resilience of markets. Factor analysis is a data reduction technique that uses correlations between data variables. The underlying assumption of factor analysis is that a number of factors exist to explain the correlations or inter-relationships among observed variables (Chatfield and Collins 1992). The data was first screened for inter-variable correlations to deem if the data justified the application of factor analysis. I also ran the Bartlett’s test for Sphericity and Kaiser– Meyer-Olkin (KMO) measure of sampling adequacy. The KMO explores whether there is sufficient correlation among existing variables to warrant factor analysis and Hair et al. (1998) recommend that KMO measures above 0.90 can be treated and interpreted as marvellous. We chose to use principal components analysis as the method of extracting factors since it enables to uncover the latent variables in any survey. The number of extracted factors was decided based on the latent root and scree test criteria recommended by Hair, et al. (1998). Factors with Eigen-values of over 1 and those close to 1 were accepted with further examination of the scree plot and total variance. To facilitate interpretation of the factors, VARIMAX rotation with Kaiser Normalization was applied. To verify the reliability of the measurement scales for the factors, Cronbach Alpha Coefficients were calculated. Most scales demonstrated values over 0.80 and all scales met the commonly suggested limits of acceptable values of 0.70 as given by Hair et al. (1998).

Results and discussion

Periodic markets classification

23Many researchers have put in efforts to seek explanations with regard to the linkages between periodicity and locational spacing of periodic markets. However, a general theory of periodic markets with an extensive applicability is the central place theory. In undeveloped countries, the majority of consumers are not supplied with goods and services from a central place. Central place functions are performed by mobile agents who move from place to place thus giving rise to the periodic market. It is important to trace the development of traditional markets because their modernization processes (traditional markets) have provided a base from which diffusion and expansion of urban life has transformed the rural areas. Conversely, periodic and daily markets also fostered improved spatial integration between rural and urban areas. Even in East Africa, where most of the market systems were imposed during the colonial period, the periodic markets have been one of the major links in the urbanization process (Obudho 1983).

24Markets can be classified in terms of frequency of occurrence or periodicity, the most common division being into two groups: daily markets, which take place on all days of the week, including Saturday and Sunday; and periodic markets, which occur regularly, but less frequently than daily. Individual markets may also be classified according to size, volume of commercial activity, number of participants, specializations in particular products, role in commodity movements, or the socioeconomic groups which frequent them. The classification type used in this paper is dependent on level of periodicity, function, number of sellers and buyers, types of products, size of area served and size of tax revenue.

25Periodic markets in the Mt. Elgon region can be conceived as one of the central social institutions of the un-urbanized rural regions of Mt. Elgon. The periodic meetings between the members of various ethnic groupings have been one of the most fundamental and enduring aspects of Mt. Elgon society. When a new periodic market is founded in an area which already has periodic markets, two contrasting approaches can be adopted in the choice of market day for the new market. These can be described as the “conflictive approach” and the “integrative approach.” By adopting a conflictive approach the organizers of a new market deliberately choose its market day to clash with some or all of the neighbouring markets. Here, proximity in space is directly related to proximity in time. By adopting an integrative approach, the organizers of a new market choose its market day to avoid clashes, and to maximize the temporal distance from neighbouring markets. Proximity in space is inversely related to proximity in time.

26It has been argued by Skinner (1964) and Hodder (1965) that periodicity is an essential element of local indigenous market structures in most developing countries. The study classified markets in Mt. Elgon according to their location and level of periodicity and this is given in Appendix 1. The classification of daily, bi-weekly and weekly is essentially based on the frequency of the market centres, i.e. day (s) of the week on which the periodic market is held. Out of the 56 markets identified in the six districts, 71.4 %, 8.16 % and 20.4 % are weekly, biweekly and daily respectively. In towns, weekly periodic markets are organised along with and in addition to daily shopping facilities. The existence of such periodic market in towns calls for an explanation as to their survival/persistence even in the face of daily shopping facilities. On the basis of empirical evidence, it may be argued that the existence of a periodic market in a town is a traditional phenomenon and ascribed among other things to weekly payments etc.

27In the region under study Tuesday markets are most popular followed by Thursday markets. The number of periodic markets held on Wednesday, Friday and Saturday is the same; that is 19 in number on each of these days while the minimum number of markets was held on Sunday, i.e. 15 in number. Observations made by the Mbale District agricultural officer indicated that Kamus Corner’, Mutufu, Bugobero and Lwakhakha are the premier periodic markets in the Mt. Elgon region. They attract many buyers, including ones from Kenya and Southern Sudan. Within Uganda, the main market products are transported as far as Kampala to the west and Kumi to the north. The agricultural products come from surrounding communities, estimated at 5-10 km radius, and determined by the time taken to walk to the market.

28Unlike markets in the industrialized world, in which most firms have a permanent presence in a given location and operate on nearly continuous schedules, in Mt. Elgon, marketers were mobile, and the markets they frequented operated on a periodic basis. Such periodicity grew out of economic necessity. Village producers needed to divide their time between creating goods at home and selling them at the market. Itinerant peddlers also benefited from such an arrangement, since no single market could generate enough demand for their wares. Periodic markets allowed them to take advantage of multiple markets, whether horizontally within several standard markets or vertically between two or more levels in the hierarchy.

29Appendix 1 further illustrates that most periodic markets are primarily rural, and many of the larger ones are bulking centres for local produce moving toward urban centres. Rural periodic markets frequently operate side by side with urban daily markets, and many periodic markets in small towns have a substantial number of fixed, daily traders. The coexistence of rural periodic and urban daily markets indicates a potential transition toward permanent commercial activities in modernizing urban areas (Hodder and Ukwu 1969). The existing urban markets in the sub-region operate on a daily trading regime (although there may be an overlay of periodicity) whereas rural markets are characterized by periodic meetings. The results in Table 28 are consistent with a description given by Agona et al. (nd.) that periodic markets can either be daily, weekly, biweekly or monthly.

Table 28. Days of market operations in the Mt. Elgon region

Table 28. Days of market operations in the Mt. Elgon region

30It is really difficult to tell the actual number of people who go to the periodic markets in the Mt. Elgon region because there is no regular routine of attendance for anyone except the sellers. This is made worse by the lack of data from responsible authorities in the region. However, on a particular market day, buyers mainly come on foot from surrounding agricultural areas and villages to visit the market. Most itinerant traders own canvas or tenting material and erect a shelter under which their wares are displayed. It appears that people with mercantile aspirations use a canopy to lend a sense of stability and dignity to their enterprise; while other traders who sell agricultural products depend on the weather and do not use a canopy.

31In all periodic markets four distinct groups of functionaries can be identified. These are produce sellers, traders (itinerant traders as well as shop keepers), consumer buyers and commercial buyers. The produce sellers are farmers and the commodities usually brought to the market place for disposal are vegetables, poultry and other agricultural produce in small quantities. In Mt. Elgon most of the buyers in a periodic market are the rural people who visit the market in order to buy essential commodities for daily consumption; either they go to the market place with cash or with agricultural produce in order to buy their requirements.

32An important aspect of trading in these periodic markets is the presence of farmer-sellers and farmer-traders who participate primarily in a horizontal system. The farmer-seller, especially food crop farmers, usually sell wholesale to either local or long distance traders who, in turn, retail their purchases in bigger markets such as Mbale, Kapchorwa and Sironko. The farmer-traders, on the other hand, bring their vegetables or food crops to the market to retail and in return buy other goods to be resold in other villages on a daily basis.

33Traders based in large urban centres visit markets on a regular schedule, while farmers, with their home-grown products, exchange their goods at the market place. Both local products and manufactured goods are, thus, disseminated by the periodic market. It is this two-way exchange between farmers and merchants that forms the foundation of the periodic market economy in Mt. Elgon. The exchange is encouraged by a sales and payment system that provides economic incentives to the farmer. In all markets studied, there was widespread vagueness on how best periodic markets could be classified. For lack of appropriate data, broad generalization of classes was given in the visited markets according to the number of sellers, number of buyers, types of products (level of product specialization), size of area served and the size of tax revenue received by the local government. Table 29 summarizes the results of this classification.

Table 29. Other classes of periodic markets

Table 29. Other classes of periodic markets

Photo 15. Kamus market in Sironko district (Mt. Elgon) – the urban meets the rural

Photo 15. Kamus market in Sironko district (Mt. Elgon) – the urban meets the rural

Spatial location and distribution of markets in the Mt. Elgon region

34The study compared the number of periodic markets with the total population of the surveyed district. The results of this task are presented in figure 40 which typically shows that the number of markets increase with the population of the district (R2 = 0.672). Figure 41 shows that over one-half (52 %) of the studied markets are found in the south of the Mt. Elgon region and 23 % and 25 % of the studied markets are in the centre and northern sections of the Mt. Elgon region. Generally periodic markets are located near to the other central places such as administrative offices and socio-cultural institutions.

Figure 40. Distribution of periodic markets in the Mt. Elgon sub region. (Authors illustration developed from existing topographic maps)

Figure 40. Distribution of periodic markets in the Mt. Elgon sub region. (Authors illustration developed from existing topographic maps)

35Hill and Smith (1972) have also shown that there is a uniform spacing between markets meeting on the same day, but the distance between markets on the same day is greater than adjacent markets with different periodic market days. The results of an analysis of the spacing of markets in areas dominated by one-day weekly, biweekly and daily markets are recorded in table 30. If each of these three sets of markets is assumed to be a random sample from a larger population, the nearest-neighbour statistic can be subjected to a significance test. The value of 0.9 for all markets and 0.7 for weekly markets indicates that the distribution pattern tends towards randomness. It was apparent from the field survey that no satisfactory explanation for the failure of the markets to conform to the uniform spacing hypothesis could be found. One can with confidence say that the siting of the periodic markets is irregular or random which is typically inconsistent with the basic tenets of central place theory.

Figure 41. Relationship between number of markets and district population

Figure 41. Relationship between number of markets and district population

Table 30. Spatial patterns of markets with different periodicities in the Mt. Elgon sub-region

Table 30. Spatial patterns of markets with different periodicities in the Mt. Elgon sub-region

The resilience of the periodic marketing process

36Why has the periodic marketing system been so enduring in the face of several challenges in the Mt. Elgon region? Why this form of marketing still appeals to a large section of the population was really interesting to explore. Markets should be interpreted as institutions that are important in the social construction of communities wherever these markets exist. Skinner (1985) predicted the end of the periodic market as a result of social and economic development. He saw peasant marketing as an evolutionary departure from subsistence oriented societies, a development that signalized the “onset of the transformation of agrarian societies into a modern industrial society” (Skinner 1964: 3). Figure 42 is a summary of the perceptions of traders on what they considered periodic market resilience to be. The figure shows that there are four perspectives in which traders perceived the resilience of markets; with 42 %, 29 %, 18 % and 11 % as business continuity, operational continuity, social-cultural continuity and market safety and security as the components of periodic market resilience.

37Broadly speaking, periodic markets in Mt. Elgon have faced nine major challenges. Figure 43 shows the different challenges that have faced the periodic markets and these include: poor means of transport, poor roads and connectivity, conflicting market days, decline in crop production, increase in the magendo economy, existence of neighbouring markets, low purchasing power of the local population, land conflicts in once open areas and cattle rustling. The most recent factor challenging the very existence of periodic markets has captured media attention. It was reported in 2011 that tribal militias had set up roadblocks in Bulambuli district to screen and harm primary school children based on their ethnicity. Groups of militias allied to both Bamasaba and Shana tribesmen set up separate road blocks along roads leading to primary schools with the aim of kidnapping and harming pupils. Following a week of clashes that left four people critically injured and five crop gardens destroyed, the Uganda Government deployed the national army; the Uganda Peoples Defence Forces soldiers, to restore calm. Security officials were now trying to find out the source of the guns that the tribal militias have in their possession. Further reports indicate that the tribal conflict has drawn in three unnamed senior army officers who have taken sides in the conflict; a conflict that dates back to 1965 and 1979 when the two tribes fought over land in Bulegeni Sub-county as well as electable positions with the new town council coming into being.

Figure 42. Perceptions of resilience of periodic markets in the Mt. Elgon region (Authors illustration)

Figure 42. Perceptions of resilience of periodic markets in the Mt. Elgon region (Authors illustration)

Figure 43. Major periodic market shocks in the Mt. Elgon region (Authors illustration)

Figure 43. Major periodic market shocks in the Mt. Elgon region (Authors illustration)

38The clashes resulted from a refusal by the Gishu to allow four parishes that are outside the Bulegeni trading centre to be added to the proposed Bulegeni town council. The sub-division of Kamus Sub-county from Bulegeni, as agitated for by the Gishu, has agitated the Shaana who argue that it is a plot intended to weaken them both economically and socially since they are already a marginalised group in the area. At the same time, the tribes are also wrangling over the name of the proposed town council. While the Gishu prefer the town council to be called Kamus, the Shana whose ancestry is Kapchorwa prefer it to be called Bulegeni. Ultimately, the conflict has forced Kamus, the biggest weekly market outside Mbale regional hub, to close down. The conflict escalated recently after the national elections in January and February 2011, when a new administrative unit (Bulegeni Town Council) was created, at the behest of the Shana leaders. The conflict resulted in physical confrontations. Crops, like coffee and bananas, and other property were destroyed and many people were forced to flee in fear of mob justice and attacks from their rivals. This has created further hatred and distrust between the two communities. Unfortunately, the town council is still not functioning to date due to the lack of leadership structures since the Shana boycotted the 2011 election (Beyond Juba Project 2011).

39Roads, where they exist, were poorly maintained and provided unreliable, infrequent, high-cost road transport services for many of the traders. Even on main routes, there are frequent closures in wet weather and frequent vehicle breakdowns. Pockets of the population elsewhere, particularly along the rural remote sub-counties of Bumasifwa, Bumasobo, Zesui, Bubulo, Bushika, Buwabwala, Bumbo, Bubutu, Tsekululu, Bufumbo and Buwalasi can only be reached using motorcycles or bicycles. One key respondent and trader indicated:

“… One time I was transporting tomatoes, cabbage and bogoya (bananas) to Juba through Soroti and when the vehicle broke down at Atari in Bulambuli district, I got stuck for about three days and my goods got rotten. Another time I was just coming from the market in Kamus. The vehicle got a mechanical breakdown and most of the goods were either stolen or got rotten on the way. I wish government would think about us in these rural areas.”

Factors responsible for the resilience of periodic markets in Mt. Elgon

40A principal Axis Factor (PAF) with a Varimax (orthogonal) rotation of 17 questions on adaptation to energy insecurity was conducted on data gathered from 574 respondents. An examination of the Kaiser-Meyer Olkin measure of sampling adequacy suggested that the sample was factorable (KMO = 0.947 for the four urban centres and these results are presented in table 31). KMO measures above 0.90 are assumed to be marvellous, and the values above 0.947 derived in this study suggest that sufficient correlations among the variables existed to warrant factor analysis. The Bartlett’s Test of Sphericity; a statistical test for presence of overall significance of the correlations among variables (Hair, et al. 1998) should be significant (p<.05) for factor analysis to be suitable (Hair et al. 1995) and the results further indicate the suitability of factor analysis in this exercise.

Table 31. KMO and Bartlett’s Test

Table 31. KMO and Bartlett’s Test

41Many extraction rules and approaches exist including: Kaiser’s criteria (Eigen-value >1 rule) (Kaiser 1960), the Scree test (Cattell 1966) the cumulative percent of variance extracted, and parallel analysis (Horn 1965). In this study, the number of factors extracted using principal components analysis was based on the latent root (Eigen-values) and scree test criteria. Four factors had Eigen-values over 1. After examining the scree plot and the total variance, four factors were chosen for the final analysis for all the four towns. The cumulative variance explained by the factors was 82 % for all the factors. A Principal Components Analysis (PCA) with a Varimax (orthogonal) rotation of 17 initial questions from the questionnaire was used to extract factors since it enables to uncover the latent variables in the survey. To facilitate interpretation of the factors, VARIMAX rotation with Kaiser Normalization was applied. When loadings less than 0.35 were excluded for all factors, the analysis yielded a four-factor solution that traders felt explains the resilience of markets in the Mt. Elgon region. Factor scores were saved for each identified factor and each of the factors were approximately normally distributed, with a mean of zero and standard deviation of 1.

42All the factors are clustered around the role played by several actors in the Mt. Elgon region. Several actors were identified in the region including: women, local farmers, local government authorities, and middlemen. According to Skinner (1964), markets can be classified as ‘standard markets’ which are the markets that carry out the normal trade functions of peasant needs. Local farmers have an important role to play in making periodic markets resilient in the Mt. Elgon region. As agricultural output increases and diversifies in the region, there is always complementarity in the markets. That is why it sometimes becomes difficult to tell who is a buyer and who is a seller in the market sellers especially for local inhabitants. A seller of local agricultural products after selling his/her products turns out to be a buyer of what he/she doesn’t produce. It was observed that women played a strong role in the establishment and operation of periodic markets in the Mt. Elgon region.

43The initiative for the setting up of many rural periodic markets has historically been the initiative of rural communities or local officials who are inexperienced in rural market development, although the selection of sites for such markets and the density of such a network of markets can often lead to the establishment of markets in locations that are not the most favourable for longer-term development. The opening of new markets especially in the Manafwa district is only happening very gradually as people in communities learn about markets from neighbouring communities, and take the initiative to establish their own. The pace needs to be accelerated in a structured and planned way, because many rural areas in Mt. Elgon are currently very poorly served by alternative commercial networks, and such rural markets offer a lower cost alternative for generating more rural trade.

44For a long time, women have found certain virgin places offering better prospects for markets, either due to the number of people in the place, e.g. trading centres, or the number commuting through that centre. They start gathering in that place at selected moments of the day, especially in the evenings, selling simple items like roasted maize, sugar cane, bananas, potatoes, fruits of various types and milk. While these unauthorized markets grow, and the local population realizes that there is interest in selling and buying area residents through their local leader then present their request to the concerned local government for formally gazetting the area as a market centre. Personal communication with the officials from the District Revenue Office Manafwa District indicated that ‘the chances that an area will be given a market place are often dependent on the influential ability of local councillors and their ability to convince local government. Other factors include the distance between the proposed market and its nearest neighbour and availability of land. It is through such a procedure that some markets have been established in the Mt. Elgon region, and Buweswa market in Manafwa district provides the most recent example.

45The role of middlemen is very important in enhancing the resilience of periodic markets in the Mt. Elgon region. Middlemen are comprised of several groups but the most important characteristic feature is: buying products from the periodic markets and selling them in other markets in nearby trading centres as well as distant urban markets. In turn, they bring products, especially imported and locally manufactured products such as second hand clothes, plastic products, metal products and agricultural inputs from outside of the market area and sell in both big and small markets. Thus, middlemen have extended local and external urban consumer demand for rural agricultural products, thus stimulating market growth in the Mt. Elgon region. Since periodic markets serve those who wish to buy but whose demand is not sufficient to support permanent daily transactions; a further point is that a single rural periodic market is insufficient to provide profit big enough for the middlemen and other traders so that in many cases they have to move from one market to another for several weeks before their stocks realize any profits. To the consumer, periodicity reduces the distance to travel if what they require can be supplied by the nearest market when it is in operation. But for certain markets people may travel long distances to visit them because of particular goods, for example Bukigai is famous for cattle.

46The role played by local government in the resilience of periodic markets in the Mt. Elgon region is very significant. Before the abolishment of the graduate tax in 2001 for all adult men across the country, one former sub county for Bububo County indicated:

“… periodic markets provided substantial local sources of revenue for local governments and they were also places for arresting tax defaulters, since they were expected at least to appear in these exciting places on the scheduled market days. There was therefore every reason to encourage the development of far bigger and well planned periodic markets for the wellbeing of the local governments.”

47Today, the role of local government can be looked at in several ways. All developing trading areas and town boards that have been declared in the Mt. Elgon region have an equal chance of having a market centre. During the declaration of town boards, local governments have gone ahead to formalize informal market areas and relocated periodic market operations near local administrative headquarters. A case in point here is the Bubulo (Manafwa) periodic market that over the last five years has been operating at the district headquarters every Sunday. Secondly, the local governments in the Mt. Elgon region are also responsible for recommending or discouraging the establishment of a market in a place that has already been chosen by local people and recommended by a local village councillor.

48Six items loaded onto factor 2 and clustered around historical factors and diversity of products. Information from key informant interviews revealed that the majority of markets today are held in those villages that were once the residential seats of powerful landlords. Since the independence period, the Mt. Elgon region has witnessed a breakthrough in farming and economic transformation. Huge surpluses and outputs have been recorded requiring new markets to supply this surplus. Early retail trade in Mt. Elgon was by barter with neighbouring regions and people exchanged foodstuffs and other commodities that were available in their locality with those of their neighbours. Up to the beginning of colonial rule, the economy of Masaba land was largely undifferentiated, and considerable trade between village groups was concerned with exchanges between masses of producers-cum-consumers. Before the coming of Europeans in the 15th century, the dominant form of transportation available on land was human (head) porterage along the numerous bush trails and footpaths that linked the various settlements together. It was reported by the Manafwa District Revenue Officials that over the last 10 years, several markets have sprung up in the district. Although their locations and operational schedules have avoided market conflicts as reported by traders, and their existence displays some form of business acumen on the part of all stakeholders involved in their creation, traders expressed concern about the fierce competing between existing markets and it is expected that some will eventually merge into one or more large ones.

49The market enables people in the communities to meet their needs and provides them an opportunity to exchange their own domestic products for money or other goods. Other scholars such as Skinner (1985) indicate that periodic markets, and especially weekly markets, are generally presented as an intermediate stage between a subsistence economy and networks of permanent trading centres. However, the periodic market system ironically plays an important role in connecting the people in Mt. Elgon to the large external market system even today. The reach of the periodic local market goes beyond the local economic activities of those involved in trade to fundamentally reshape the lives of the local people. The market place provides an especially good advantage from which one can observe local peasants’ behavioural changes in tandem with the penetration of the market economy.

50The level of specialization is limited. Only a few markets were reported to have specialized in the sale of cattle, at Sipi-Blasio, for example. Otherwise the largest number of markets have a diversity of products ranging from agricultural products to manufactured products such as clothes, iron sheets, cement, etc. As Good (1975) reports, some traders are specialized professionals whose livelihoods depend heavily on full-time market visitation. They sell high-value merchandise, such as dress fabrics, new and used clothing and a variety of other manufactured articles. While the sale of these higher goods is subject to definite seasonal fluctuations, demand is adequate to keep the opportunity cost low and enable traders to survive. Some traders, however, achieve viability by spreading their overheads and profits over a wider variety of merchandise, combining items such as clothing, blankets, cutlery, enamelware, soap and cosmetics.

51Beside their economic functions, the periodic markets have very important social functions which play a great role in their vitality: the peasants attend those markets not only to buy and sell goods but also to exchange information, to meet relatives or friends, to look for spouses, to watch movies, to booze the local brew, or simply to enjoy the vivid atmosphere of the market. The periodic marketing system has three major components: goods, transactions and actors; the marketplace is a magnetic scene in the local landscape, and the market day has become akin to the weekend in most modern societies. A primary function of the periodic market has always been to provide a place where farmers can engage in exchange and where new commodities and innovations can be introduced. One significant effect of the introduction of innovations has been the realization by farmers of the importance of monetary payment in purchasing goods manufactured outside the local area, and the market has offered them alternative opportunities for earning monetary income. The market can also function as an outlet for various social functions, however. Market days for villagers are exciting days, teeming with life/excitement and the exchange of rumour and information is still commonplace for most people in Mt. Elgon region. People go to the market not only to buy and sell goods but also for pleasure and one will be able to identify many local brew aggregations of people each market day, making the market places social spaces of enjoyment and personal engagement. One observation made in Mt. Elgon markets is that they are not only focal points for buying and selling goods, but increasingly, periodic markets are now places for local communities to engage in social activities (local brew drinking, finding new love and sexual partners and exchange of ideas); they constitute focal points for the political mobilization of local communities, electioneering, dissemination of health, agricultural and environmental information etc. To quote the District Agricultural Official for Mbale District:

“…… days have been very important in helping the district agricultural office to transfer and inject new agricultural ideas and innovations to local communities. Historically, market centres were utilized as sites for explaining new government programs and policies and we have continued the practice to date.”

52This was observed in previous studies by Bromley et al., (1975) in which markets were described as total institutions, not simply economic markets in the narrow sense of the word, but by the multiplicity of functions of which, material exchange is only one. This is also consistent with what Madungha (1975: 23) observed in Bunyole sub-county in his studies of periodic markets where he observed, thus:

“… markets are famous because of the additional local and manufactured brew that is brought in them. The truth about beer is that after one has pushed in a bottle or two, his brains become excited and the nerves become bolder and the social ability becomes higher to meet the opposite sex. Women, men, girls and boys go to look for their dear ones. They are the most convenient meeting places for everybody. When a woman or girl comes to the market, she does so at her own risk. Whether engaged or married, she is for everybody present in the market. Any man can talk to her and there is no chance for the husband or lover to be jealous. Jealousy stops at home. Women therefore are part and parcel of market life and play an attractive role for customers who come to buy goods.”

53Four items further loaded onto factor 3 and these are clustered around improvements in connectivity and means of transportation. What was observed in all markets studied was the increase in connectivity between markets and their hinterlands. Both foot tracks and improved road networks have been developed. Numerous footpaths established in the region have provided shortcuts to market centres for pedestrians and together with improvements in motorable tracks, four-wheelers including trucks and minibuses can deliver itinerant traders and their products to distant markets An important mode of transport that can enhance access to rather remote parts of the Mt. Elgon region is the now popular motorbike (boda-boda) which provides easy access for both traders and customers. In a conversation, the Sub-County Chief for Buweswa Sub County in Manafwa district indicated that:

“....... district creation has presented an opportunity for individual districts to deal with road infrastructural problems and with Manafwa District Council, there is consensus reached that adequate infrastructure for transportation is an important step toward alleviating poverty and providing equitable opportunities for people in the Mt. Elgon region by linking small-scale producers to markets and reducing the market risk and transaction costs they face. With funding from the Local Government Development Programme, Community Agricultural Infrastructure Improvement Project (CAIIP 2), and the application of labour based technologies, there is a concerted effort to repair the once poor roads and upgrade existing footpaths so that rural producers can easily reach potential markets.”

54The exchange of goods and services in the markets is not only limited to the Mt. Elgon region but with improvments in the road network and better means of transport, the trade reaches beyond Mt. Elgon boundaries. For a long time, the footpath was the mainstay of travel and the link to the main market centres. These footpaths played a significant role in the development of the various markets in the Mt. Elgon region by linking all the market centres. However, when the means of communication were improved and transportation became cheaper, the markets gradually lost a greater part of their tributary areas to centres which were better supplied with transportation lines. One of the traders indicated:

“Unlike the past, in Manafwa area these days you can see a lot of markets. Now you don’t have to go to villages to collect vegetables. You can go to the Mbale wholesale market and sell at Bukigai market. On Thursdays, I trade at Bukigai market and I also trade at Bushiika market on Monday. Transport is now easy. If my husband does not have work elsewhere he also joins me on other market circuits. There is a lorry which comes in the morning from Mbale wholesale market.”

55Today the markets are very important in the exchange of goods between the Mt. Elgon region and several other districts in Uganda, Western Kenya and Southern Sudan. All the agricultural products from surrounding communities converge at this market and these are later transported to nearby urban centres and other distant markets. In fact, the location of Kamus market offers the three most important requirements for trade: complementarity, no intervening opportunities and transferability. Even for women carrying their loads on their back, Kamus market offers the best location for them to transact their business. With improvements in connectivity and means of transport, one can describe the flow of goods and services to follow two patterns illustrated in figure 44. The first description of the flow of goods is what this paper refers to as horizontal movement. Horizontal movement of goods follows two alternative routes. Goods are either taken to the markets by the producers themselves or by itinerant traders who in turn sell them to other itinerant traders. There are itinerant traders who move from village to village collecting goods and then later sell them to visiting itinerant traders in markets. When the goods reach the markets, they are consolidated together by the visiting itinerant traders who transport and sell them in other periodic markets or distant markets outside the Mt. Elgon region. There is also the vertical movement of goods whereby the periodic markets form the initial points for the upward movement of goods, - especially bananas, Irish potatoes, fruits, vegetables, cattle, sugarcane, fruits and maize - to higher order marketing centres in urban areas and outside the country; or the reverse flow of locally and imported manufactured goods including second hand clothes, domestic appliances, plastic shoes as well sweet potatoes from Soroti for customers visiting the periodic markets.

Figure 44. A theoretical stream illustrating the flow of products and services in the Mt. Elgon region (Authors illustration)

Figure 44. A theoretical stream illustrating the flow of products and services in the Mt. Elgon region (Authors illustration)

56Today, crop production, both traditional and non traditional crops, has substantially increased in the region together with access to manufactured goods from far and wide. The increased production has over the years generated a surplus which can be sold in the periodic markets. In fact, the Mt. Elgon region has been described as the food basket for Eastern Uganda by several scholars and the increased surplus has been channelled into the local markets, thus contributing to their growth. Favourable markets, particularly in Mbale, contributed to the increased importance of beans in response to demand from neighbouring Kenya and urban centres in other parts of Uganda. In addition, many Nabongo farmers who lost their livestock during cattle raids by the Karimojong in 1987-88 were forced to rely more on beans as a source of protein (Soniia 1999). The other movement of goods is that of locally manufactured and imported goods, which are not available in the immediate locality of the market. The scale of trading in this particular type of commodity is very small, but it serves a very important function by bringing within reach of the rural population such imported textiles, aluminium, milk, soap and sugar. As has already been pointed out, traders who sell such items usually visit several markets within the ring before returning to their base to replenish their stock. It should however be noted, that frequently the road systems fail and market activities are brought to a standstill. This is what one of the truck drivers said:

“.... we carry out repairs each time our vehicles make trips from Mbale to market centres in Sironko, Bulambuli, Manafwa, Bududa and rural Mbale areas, with the worst route network experienced in the hilly areas of Masira, Buginyanya, Bumbo, Buwabwala, Bushika, Bulucheke, Bukonde and Bufumbo sub-counties. Several vehicles that use these rugged mountainous terrains of Mt Elgon, many without even rudimentary access, usually make it back with broken springs and bodies as the vehicles dance along the potholed roads, almost reduced to village paths. At times we get stuck on the way. We fail to make it to our destinations, so we sleep there with our products. This will be a day wasted, we can’t recover anything. The vehicle has broken down and at times, goods rot which ultimately means losing their resale value.”

57Two items loaded on factor 4 and these clustered around demographic factors. Mount Elgon, according to the Uganda Bureau of Statistics, has the country’s highest population density of 1,000 people per square kilometre with a population growth rate of 3.4 percent per annum. As a result, almost all land in Bugisu is cultivated, and land pressure causes population migration and social conflicts. However, the increase in population has had two influences on periodic markets. The continued extraction of land resources by the increased population has therefore increased the number of producers and buyers. Madungha (1975) in his studies of periodic markets in Bunyole sub-county argued that the most efficient system of markets in rural areas is for them to be periodic so that during the non market days, the peasants concentrate on their farms and spend only a day or two per week for marketing, especially during the harvest season. On the other hand, as the population land ratios increase, it was observed that there is an increasing category of people that have extended into new livelihood portfolios and now engage in off-farm activities. These comprise of shop keepers, civil servants, motor bike riders, local artisans and NGO employees, and this category of people increasingly depends on markets for their food supply. The net effect is the increase in the number of potential buyers in the markets on any marketing day, assuming that the increase in this group of people is followed by an increase in their purchasing power.

58Mukwaya et al. (2012) reports that the rates and processes of urban transformation in the Mt. Elgon region are unstoppable arising from population increase, political and economic processes. The Mt. Elgon region comprises of one municipality of Mbale, ten town councils - most of which have been created over the last three years - and several town boards. In 2007, the Ministry of Local Government approved the recommendation of several district councils and respective lower councils to have trading centres under their jurisdictions upgraded to town boards. For the Manafwa district, the new town boards took effect on July 1, 2008 and these include Magale, Butiru, Bumbo, Bukhaweka, Bugobero, Bumageni and Buwangani, which is at the centre of a border dispute between the Manafwa and Bududa districts. The effects of urbanization on both the quantity and types of agricultural products demanded by domestic consumers may create new incentives and opportunities for Mt. Elgon agricultural producers, wholesalers and retailers. The transition from subsistence-oriented agriculture to commercial agriculture for markets that are increasingly urban requires the development of better infrastructure such as roads and markets.


59The periodicity information for approximately one-quarter of the markets in Mt. Elgon shows that it is clear that periodic markets dominate in the south. No attempt was made to offer a comprehensive explanation for the location of the different periodicities, but evidence suggest that bi-weekly markets in Bugobero, Kamus, Buteza and Lwakhakha are dominant in the rural areas, while daily markets dominate in the main urban centres. In the Mt. Elgon region as elsewhere, market days follow a predictable pattern. Beginning in the morning, traders arrive at the trading grounds, where they arrange their goods for display. Later in the day, once surrounding communities from the surrounding hills have arrived, the markets buzz. Most persons arrive by foot and the markets end early evening to give enough time for people to walk back to their homes in the surrounding mountain areas before dusk.

60The factors show that the farmers who participated in the workshops are well aware of the fact that change is ongoing, that many changes are unpredictable and sudden. They have developed strategies to buffer surprises as well as harness the potential inherent in change. Resilience thinking offers a valuable framework that allows one to emphasize dynamics and interdependencies across time and between social and ecological domains. Adding an economic component, as it plays a key role for farms, may support the needed shift from focusing on sophisticated forecasting and risk assessment methods, to focusing on how a system can cope with ongoing change and surprise. Indeed, in the turbulent times that inevitably result from complex dynamics, a farm managed with a one-sided focus on efficiency is unlikely to be resilient. The goal is thus to take advantage of current opportunities, while managing the conditions that expand future possibilities, i.e., ensure adaptability and transformability.

61Periodic markets play an important role in establishing large and regular trade flows which in turn create business and employment opportunities. The issue now is for regional and national governments, local authorities and all other stakeholders to pull together to ensure the efficient management of market centres. Smart rural and urban development policies could help spread the benefits and lift whole communities out of poverty. They are also areas where the urban and rural meet – acting as transit points and laterally connecting the rural hinterlands, significantly contributing to new options for local economic growth and development. With their multiple connections, including to the wider and distant urban markets, periodic markets should be recognized factors of both development and local economic integration.



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Periodic markets and days of operation

Periodic markets and days of operation

Classes: Urban Daily (UD), Urban Evening (UE), Urban Weekly (UW), Rural Daily (RD), Rural Periodic Nightly (RPN) and Rural Weekly (RW), Rural Bi-weekly (RBW)


1 The nearest neighbour statistic uses the concept of distance which is ambiguous. It doesn’t specify whether the straight line distance, separating two phenomena should be measured in terms of cost or time of travel or the mere physical distance should be employed. Secondly, human beings do not normally move through the shortest route, i.e. the straight line. Thirdly, the method uses some specific values for the nearest neighbour statistic as indicated above, and therefore, unless these values are obtained, it is difficult to classify any pattern of distribution random, regular or clustered. Consequently, the method gives approximations rather than the actual patterns of distribution in the real world.

Table des illustrations

Titre Figure 38. The concept of periodic market resilience. (Based on Hill et al. 2011)
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Titre Table 26. Demographic characteristics of districts in the Mt. Elgon region (Republic of Uganda 2014)
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Titre Figure 39. Mt. Elgon region in Uganda. Mt. Elgon administrative map from OPM (2015) and Uganda in Africa map.
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Titre Table 27. Number of markets selected in the Mt. Elgon region
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Titre Table 28. Days of market operations in the Mt. Elgon region
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Titre Table 29. Other classes of periodic markets
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Titre Photo 15. Kamus market in Sironko district (Mt. Elgon) – the urban meets the rural
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Titre Figure 40. Distribution of periodic markets in the Mt. Elgon sub region. (Authors illustration developed from existing topographic maps)
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Titre Figure 41. Relationship between number of markets and district population
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Titre Table 30. Spatial patterns of markets with different periodicities in the Mt. Elgon sub-region
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Titre Figure 42. Perceptions of resilience of periodic markets in the Mt. Elgon region (Authors illustration)
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Titre Figure 43. Major periodic market shocks in the Mt. Elgon region (Authors illustration)
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Titre Table 31. KMO and Bartlett’s Test
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Titre Figure 44. A theoretical stream illustrating the flow of products and services in the Mt. Elgon region (Authors illustration)
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Titre Periodic markets and days of operation
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Légende Classes: Urban Daily (UD), Urban Evening (UE), Urban Weekly (UW), Rural Daily (RD), Rural Periodic Nightly (RPN) and Rural Weekly (RW), Rural Bi-weekly (RBW)
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Dr. and Lecturer, Department of Geography, Geo-informatics and Climatic Sciences, Makerere University, Kampala (Uganda),
Over the last 10 years, Paul. I. Mukwaya has put special research emphasis on urban systems analysis with planning, livelihoods, local economic development and environmental issues at the core of his analyses.

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