Impediments, opportunities and strategies to enhance trade of wild and semi-wild food plants in Bunyoro- Kitara Kingdom, Uganda
This study examined the impediments, opportunities and strategies to enhance trade of wild and semiwild food plants (WSWFPs) in Bunyoro-Kitara Kingdom, Uganda. Semi-structured questionnaire was administered face-to-face to sixty six (66) traders of WSWFPs in the formal markets: five (5) mobile hawkers and eleven (11) home-based/roadside traders. As a result of their small number, all traders that were found selling WSWFPs were interviewed. Data were analysed using simple descriptive statistics in excel spreadsheet and MINITAB statistical package. A number of challenges including high perishability, market dues, inaccurate consumers’ perceptions, seasonal shortfalls and unreliable supply, unorganized markets, little or no value addition, limited market information, and the inexistence of market promotional activities affected the trade in WSWFPs. However, the growing market demands, increasing focus of most service providers in creating awareness on WSWFPs, ever-changing perception on nutritional values of WSWFPs by the public, current government emphasis on value addition of traded agricultural products, little or no capital requirement for starting up trade in WSWFPs, and absence of restrictive regulations on sale of WSWFPs were regarded as good opportunities that could be exploited to enhance trade in WSWFPs. Key strategies for improved marketing WSWFPs included among other things, training gatherers and traders on value adding activities prior to sale, deliberate investment in promotional and awareness campaigns to expose the hidden benefits of WSWFPs, scrapping market dues levied on traders selling WSWFPs, helping gatherers and sellers to organise themselves to form viable supply and market groups, linking gatherers and sellers to good markets, as well as providing them with available market information. There is thus, a need for concerted efforts to implement some of these feasible marketing strategies to improve on the markets of WSWFPs in the kingdom.
Key words: Wild edibles, wild food, semi-cultivated food, marketing wild food, Uganda.