Assessing the post-harvest losses in maize production in Madudu sub-county, Mubende district
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Introduction Uganda‟s small-scale farmers have traditionally cultivated maize for food and for income generation. It forms an important part of the farming system, particularly in Eastern Uganda. However, average yields are well below potential attainable levels and postharvest losses also are high and yet less has been done to establish the extent of the post-harvest losses towards farmers in maize production. The study was carried out in Naluwondwa and Kakenzi parishes since they are well known for many maize growers. Two villages of Ngabano and Kijjunga from the two parishes were selected purposively for the study. A total of 50 maize farmers were randomly selected from each village making a sample size of 100 respondents for the study. Objectives The specific objectives of this study were to characterize the major maize farmers, identify the different causes of post-harvest losses of maize, estimate the post-harvest losses among the smallholder famers in maize production and to analyze the solutions undertaken to reduce on the post-harvest losses in maize production among maize farmers in Madudu Sub County, Mubende district. Methods 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. Results This study found out that the major causes of post-harvest maize losses among smallholder farmers in Madudu Sub County were pests (45.78%), rodents (30.59), poor storage and poor quality packages (25.67) and lastly spillage (18.83%). The study also revealed that the possible solution to postharvest losses of maize among farmers are; establishment of proper transport network (55%),establishment of proper storage facilities (20%), sensitization of farmers on post-harvest losses (15%) and provision of tarpaulin in terms of subsidy(10%) . The study also revealed that post-harvest losses of maize at transportation are highest (34%) and lowest during winnowing (15%). Conclusion and recommendation From the study results, it is evident that post- harvest losses play a significant role in farmers‟ profitability. There is therefore need to come up with strategies like establishment of proper transport system processing sensitization of farmers on post-harvest losses and construction of better maize storage facilities.