The effect of post harvest losses on profitability of maize enterprises in Hapuuyo Sub-County, Kyegegwa 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 the profitability of agribusiness enterprises Objective: The main objective of this study was to assess the extent of post-harvest losses of maize and their impact on the profitability of agribusiness enterprises in Hapuuyo sub-county, Kyegegwa. Methods: A cross-sectional study design was employed. A sample size of 50 farmers and 30 traders was used. Study participants were consented before they were interviewed using questionnaires as a study tool. Data was analyzed using SPSS version 16. The results were described using measures of central tendency, dispersion and measures of association and presented in form of frequencies, graphs and tables. Results: The main findings of the study indicate that spillage (54.0%) and weevils (43.3%). were the major causes of post-harvest losses among farmers and traders respectively. It was also found that the post-harvest losses that significantly affected farmers and traders were losses incurred during shelling (p= 0.046) and storage (p=0.019), and losses during storage (p=0.002) respectively Conclusion and recommendation: From the study results, it is evident that post-harvest losses play a significant role in farmers’ and traders’ profitability. There is, therefore, need to come up with strategies like processing plants to turn maize into more durable products, train farmers and traders on post-harvest maize handling mechanisms and construction of better maize storage facilities.