O Level Revision : Commerce - Marketing Boards

Marketing Boards are set up by an Act of Parliament to handle the production and marketing of a commodity at standardized prices and conditions of sale to consumers and thus reduce price competition among producers.

The boards are set up for all grains, milk, cotton, meats and minerals. These boards cater for small scale to large scale producers.

Functions of marketing boards

a) Guarantee prices

  • The boards and producers determine and agree on the price of the commodity before its production.
  • The promised price may encourage producers to undertake production of  the commodity at the expected, stable price.
  • The guaranteed price ensures an even flow of goods to consumers at affordable, reasonable price regularly.
  • The costs of production, the demand for the commodity and the profit motive determine the guaranteed price.


b) Control of production

  • The guaranteed price may be the production control measure.
  • In  the  event  of  overproduction  or  underproduction,  the  guaranteed  price prevails.
  • The excess may be exported or used for other purposes, the shortfall may be imported.  Balance is maintained in the industry.
  • The produce is delivered at the prescribed price.


c) Collection of output

  • Produce, e.g. milk, is collected from numerous farms to collection points for onward carriage to marketing board depots.
  • The boards acquire vehicles to carry the produce to their depots.
  • For milk, the board provides farmers with cans for easy delivery of milk.


d) Storage

  • Storage facilities are set at local and central depots.
  • Storage facilities are customised to meet the nature and standard of the produce.
  • Refrigeration is a must for perishables.

e) Processing

  • Milk, meat, fruits are processed and packed into various product sizes and kinds.


f) Quality control

  • The board sets the standards and ensures compliance by producers.
  • Produce is therefore tested, graded and coded by the board.


g) Expert advice

  • Expert advice may be given on the inputs like seeds, equipment and insecticides.
  • The research department offers the advice in order to maximise production and minimise costs and ultimately maximise profits.


h) Finance

  • Producers  may  get  advance  financial assistance  to  buy  inputs  like  seeds,
  • fertilizers and equipment.
  • Repayments are made after delivery of the produce.



i) Marketing

-     The boards advertise nationally the produce.


The Boards


  1. Dairibord Zimbabwe Limited

-     The board buys milk from dairy farmers.

-     Carries milk in standard labelled cans.

-     Processes milk into several milk products.

-     Distributes milk products at home and abroad.

-      Provides storage of milk and milk products like cheese and ice cream at their depots.


  1. Cold Storage Company
  • Buys cattle, goats and pigs for slaughter.
  • Slaughters at its abattoirs at various centres in the country.
  • Inspects meat supplies to ensure safety and hygiene of the products.
  • Sells meat products to butchers at wholesale prices.
  • Exports meat and meat products.
  • Owns and operates retail outlets.
  • Promotes the meat industry by owning cattle ranches.

  1. Grain Marketing Board
  • Buys, stores, processes and sells all types of grains.
  • Markets the grain at home and abroad.
  • Supplies millers with grains to make into products e.g. samp, maize meal, flour.
  • Operates grain silos and depots in many centres of the country.


  1. Cotton Company of Zimbabwe
  • Contracts farmers to grow cotton.
  • Provide farmers inputs like seeds and fertilizers.
  • Offer expert advice to producers.
  • Operates cotton ginneries and processes cotton.
  • Supplies lint to spinners and oil extractors to make cooking oil and stockfeed.


  1. Tobacco Industry Marketing Board
  • Organises and supervises the selling of tobacco at tobacco auction floors.
  • Assists farmers to get inputs.
  • Provides expertise to farmers.
  • Sells standard packaging material to farmers.


  1. Mineral Marketing Cooperation of Zimbabwe
  • Markets all minerals except gold.
  • Gold is marketed through the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe.


Challenges of marketing boards

  • Have many employees who deal with producers and consumers.
  • Are usually bureaucratic and inefficient.
  • Lack skilled and experienced technical management to plan, direct, coordinate and control the operations of the board. The boards are usually attached to some incompetent government departments.
  • Activities are varied, need various sizes and forms of transport to carry goods and workers
  • Road, rail, sea and air may not be available to carry all types, sizes and forms of produce.
  • Removal of subsidies through privatisation and commercialisation of boards results
  • in the rise of prices, reduced supply of goods, increased profits for the producers.
  • Regulate production by fixing the price and thus discourage overproduction and yet
  • excess supply might lead to lower prices for the consumers.
  • Fixed prices rob the consumer of scouting for competitive prices.
  • When there are shortages the fixed price is flouted.

Multiple choice questions


A marketing board



(i)   appoints board members.


(ii) markets the produce.


(iii) stores the produce.


A.  (i) and (ii)


(i) and (iii)


C.  (ii) and (iii)


(i), (ii) and (iii)


Which is suitable for auction sales?




A.  Gold




C.  Milk



3.    Only the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe trades in


A.  copper.




C.  gold.




In a commodity market products are




A.  exported.




C.  sampled.




The function of a marketing board is to




A.  buy the produce.


carry the produce from the farms.


C.  fix quantities to be produced.


harvest the produce.


Marketing boards are set up to




(i)   buy, store, and sell produce.




(ii) even outthe supply of goods.




(iii) stabilise prices.




A.  (i)


(i) and (ii)


C.  (i) and (iii)


(i), (ii) and (iii)

  1. The Cold Storage Company buys, feeds, slaughters and sells

(i) cattle. (ii) goats. (iii) pigs.

  1. (i)  B.   (i) and (ii)
  2. (i) and (iii)                       D.   (i), (ii) and iii
  3. The Government establishes Marketing Boards to
  4. control production.  B.   maximise profits.
  5. reduce output.  D.   serve the consumers.