Assessing the post-harvest losses among smallholder rice farmers in Kiziranfumbi sub-county, Kikuube district
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Rice (Oryza Sativa) is one of the emerging crops in Uganda that plays an important role both as a food and cash crop. Many farmers in Kikuube district participate in rice growing. However, less has been documented on the post-harvest losses among rice farmers. Therefore, the main objective of this study was to assess the post-harvest losses in rice among smallholder farmers in Kiziranfumbi Sub County, Kikuube district. The specific objectives of this study were to characterize the major rice farmers, identify the different causes of post-harvest losses of rice, estimate the post-harvest losses among the smallholder famers along the rice value chain and to analyze the interventions undertaken to reduce on the post-harvest losses in rice among rice farmers in Kiziranfumbi Sub County, Kikuube district. The study was carried out in Bulimya parish since it is well known for many rice growers. Three villages of Kamusunsi, Munteme and Kicuunda were selected purposively for the study. A total of 20 rice farmers were randomly selected from each village making a sample size of 60 respondents for the study. This study used a cross sectional research design where both quantitative and qualitative research approaches were adopted. Data was collected using a semi-structured questionnaire. Data was analyzed using statistical package for social scientist where descriptive statistics were used for easy interpretation. This study found out that the major causes of post-harvest rice losses among smallholder farmers in Kiziranfumbi Sub County were spillage (48.86%), rodents (29.6%) and lastly pests (25.7%). The study also revealed that the possible solution to post harvest losses of rice among farmers are; establishment of storage facilities (23%) sensitization xii of people about post-harvest handling of rice (10%), improving on the road network (15%), provision of tarpaulin in terms of subsidy(15%) and provision of quality bags or sacks for rice storage(17%). The study also revealed that post-harvest losses of rice at storage are highest (28.1%) and lowest during drying (22.5%). This study recommends that farmers should stop drying rice on bare ground because this will improve on the quality and quantity of rice. Farmers should properly dry the rice before it is stored to reduce on pest attacks. Farmers should acquire better packaging materials to avoid excessive spillage and attack of rice by rodents. Farmers should form cooperatives so as to invest more in establishment of storage facilities preventing post-harvest losses caused by rodents such as rats due to poor storage. Farmers should fumigate stores to kill pests such as weevils before rice is kept, government should also invest in setting up better road network that enhances proper transportation of rice and avoid losses due to spillage.