Impact of participatory post-harvest training of farmers on post-harvest losses of maize in Kibbumba Zone in Kamuli district
MetadataShow full item record
Post-harvest losses (PHL) experienced by maize farmers in Uganda is currently addressed through extension and conduction of post-harvest trainings. However, much as these training programs are conducted, prevalence of PHL is still high among the farmers. This study aimed at examining the impact of participatory post-harvest training of farmers on post-harvest losses of maize in Kibbumba zone in Kamuli district. The study was based on a survey where 80 maize farmers from 80 households were interviewed using a semi-structured questionnaire consisting of questions about farmers’ knowledge and post-harvest handling practices regarding maize production, harvesting, transportation, drying and storage losses in maize. Chi-square tests, (p <0.05) were performed to examine the relationship between PHT and PH practices carried out, PHT and total PHL experienced among the farmers. Results showed that 65% of the respondents were females while 35% were males. The average age of the respondents was 19-49 years. The results indicated that 45% of the farmers had ever attended a post-harvest training. The major causes of post-harvest losses were vermin, especially by birds at harvest stage; spillage and poor handling during transportation from the garden; spillage at drying stage; grain breakage, spillage and scattering of grains at shelling and cleaning stages; rodent and insect damage during storage. The study found out that about 13% of the harvested maize was lost along the value chain whereby one-third of this loss occurred at storage, about 3.6% lost during harvest, 1.3% during transportation, 1.5% during drying and 1.8% at shelling. The results showed a significant relationship between participation in PHT and use of improved post-harvest technologies such as use of tarpaulins while drying, use of shelling machines, drying on bare ground, condition of storage room and use of insect control methods. Results showed that trained farmers were more likely to adopt these improved post-harvest technologies as compared to the non-trained farmers. The study also showed that there was a very strong association between participation in PHT and total post-harvest loss (χ² 12.844, p=0.000). Use of improved technologies such as drying on tarpaulins, and storage in metallic silos have been associated with reduced PHL and thus, adoption of these technologies should further be encouraged among farmers as a way of reducing the losses experienced. More sensitization should also be carried out by the government and other stakeholders such as NGOs to educate farmers about improved post-harvest technologies and their related advantages. More sensitization should also be carried out to equip farmers with more knowledge about integrated pest management as rodent and insect damage were a challenge to most of the farmers. Interventions targeting harvest and affordable improved storage technologies should be developed and passed onto farmers since high losses were realized at these two stages.