Quality management along tomato supply chain in Ngora district
Odwarat, Jacob Isaac
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Tomato (Solanum lycopersicum.) is a fruit vegetable, and like most horticultural commodities is highly perishable. It is often exposed to stresses either imposed by other organisms (biotic) or arising from imbalance of environmental factors (abiotic) or quality management and post-harvest handling techniques used by most farmers and traders. The objective of this study was to determine the quality management along tomato supply chain in Ngora distrct. Tomato fruit yield was also affected significantly by poor post-harvest handling methods during and after harvesting. The highest fruit yield (70 ton/ha) was recorded for the well managed tomatoes in which best quality management and good post-harvest handling techniques were employed. Packaging, sorting, grading as well as good storage practices positively influenced the tomato fruit quality and extended tomato shelf life. A total of 40 respondents were selected from three purposely selected regions (Ngora central market, Ogirigiroi market and Ngora prison farm) using simple random sampling techniques. Multiple approaches including the questionnaire, interviews, and documentary review were used to gather both primary and secondary data, the descriptive statistics and gross margin model were employed in scrutinizing the data. Arbitrary the average weight of a crate of tomatoes was 140 Kilograms (Kg). According to the results, the gross margin analysis revealed that variable costs and fixed costs constituted 90.83% and 9.17% of total costs respectively. It was further revealed that majority (75.76%) of the variable costs were acquisition cost. The findings of returns per shilling injected of 1.15 disclosed that the enterprise is profitable and market supply was efficient especially in Ngora central market. The total cost of the product was Uganda Shillings (Ug Shs.) 934.29 per Kg, total revenue was Ug Shs. 1071.43 per Kg and the net income of Ug Shs. 137.14 per Kg was realized, indicating highly profitable. The findings revealed that major constraints were small market size, perishable nature of the product, lack of storage facilities, low price in the market, and deterioration of tomatoes, infestation due to pests and physical damages during handling and high transport cost. There was a call to restructure the format and improve the class of markets and render them corporate and habitable especially during and after raining seasons.