Assessment of the causes and implications of post-harvest handling losses of rice in Namutumba district
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The major purpose of the study was to assess the causes and implications of post harvest handling losses of rice in Namutumba district. The specific objectives of the study were: to characterize rice farmers in Namutumba district, To measure the extent of post harvest handling losses of rice at harvesting, threshing, storage and milling and to determine the causes of post harvest handling losses of rice in Namutumba district. The study employed cross sectional design. The design is chosen because it is cost effective. It allowed rapport establishment with the respondent. Acquisition of more in-depth information through interaction with the respondents was also done. Extensive observation and note-taking during interviews and respondents meetings was done. This study used both the quantitative and qualitative data. The study revealed that about 40% of the rice farmers interviewed indicated that they experienced postharvest losses of rice and that the losses were very high due to lack of improved seeds. Respondents also reported that the problem of lack of improved seeds was the major cause of post harvest losses. According to the rice farmers, mechanization of the post harvest activities, providing technical knowhow and access to financial resources to acquire appropriate inputs could help reduce the losses in rice The study recommended that postharvest loss reduction programmes to rice farmers through advocacy and awareness should be emphacised. When a loss reduction campaign is coupled with potent and sustainable food systems, the yield gap will be addressed. A campaign like this should incorporate competitive rice production, appropriate harvesting times and farmer field schools among identified Community Based Organisations (CBOs) and Farmer Based Organisations (FBOs). Through the implementation of a loss reduction programme campaign, there will be high tendency to conserve and convert rice loss to plate. Farmer Field Schools (FFS), and exchange visits are implemented with in rice growing communities; it will bring on board both extension personnel and farmers. For instance, when rice farmers are taught loss reduction through demonstration fields, the prevailing losses at field will be lessened. Moreover, such programmes will increase awareness among rice farmers, private sector and high policy level.