Estimating economic value of food loss among female and male retail traders; a case of tomatoes in Kampala markets
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This study sought to estimate in value terms the tomato losses made by traders (specifically retailers) in Ugandan local markets around Kampala, such as Kalerwe, Nakasero and Wandegeya markets. A cross-sectional research design was adapted to collect information from the traders in the boom season (season with high production) in the month of July and August of 2019. It was a mixed study that used both the quantitative & qualitative approaches and a simple random sampling technique was used to collect information on traders’ characteristics, amount of tomatoes stocked, amount of tomatoes lost, stocking & selling prices of tomatoes ,factors which influence the losses of tomatoes by the traders and the constraints faced by the traders in these markets. The collected data was analyzed with the aid of descriptive statistics, t-test and linear regression analysis. The results showed that there were more women (72.7%) than men (26.3%) involved in the tomato retailing business in these markets. Furthermore, most of the respondents, both male and female had been in the tomato retailing business for at least eight (8) years and on average had acquired at least eight (8) years of formal education (i.e. have completed primary level of education according to the Ugandan education structure). Male and female traders do not differ a lot in the proportion of their daily stock of tomatoes lost per day in Kalerwe and Nakasero Market. However, in Wandegeya market male traders make more loss compared to female traders. Traders in Nakasero market lose more tomatoes in a day compared to Wandegeya and Kalerwe markets. The major factors found to be influencing losses in these markets were the distance of the trades’ stall from the main passage, height of the traders’ stall, materials used to display tomatoes, number of buyers received per day, and damage of traders’ tomatoes by rodents. Traders reported that instability of tomato prices, poor quality tomatoes, dispersed nature of source of tomatoes, lack of access to credit and competition from road side venders especially in the boom season were the major constraints faced. I therefore recommend structural re-organization, especially of Nakasero and Kalerwe markets so as to improve accessibility of the buyers to the traders in the different parts of the markets. Traders’ stalls should be raised to at least one meter above the ground to reduce the effect of bad weather and rodent damage on tomatoes. The market authorities should work with other concerned authorities to find solution to the roadside vendors such as ensuring that they get stalls inside the market. All traders should consider using well aerated material such as baskets to display their tomatoes to curb loss of tomatoes associated with use of inappropriate material. The government should support the traders financially through the already existing market association and also regulate the credit institutions that charge very high and sometimes unfair interest rates, so as to tackle the challenge of limited access to credit. The tomato producers should use good quality seeds, grow tomatoes varieties with better attributes and practice appropriate agronomic practices to so as to produce good quality tomatoes.