Farmers’ Perceptions of Rice Postharvest Losses in Eastern Uganda
The cross-sectional survey involving 83 farmers in focus group discussions and 150 individual interviews examined smallholder farmers’ perceptions about postharvest losses (PHLs) in in rice in Eastern Uganda. Principal component analysis and logistic regression were used to establish the determinants of farmers’ perceived ability to reduce PHLs. Farmers perceive 66% of the losses occurred in the field-based activities of harvesting, heaping and threshing through spillage, while 34% occurred in the home-based activities of drying and storage. Quality deterioration was perceived to be highest at harvesting and drying stages. Farmers’ perceived themselves least able to to reduce PHLs at the stages where the losses were highest. These perceptions are significantly influenced farm size, awareness of the modes through which losses occur, proportions of rice sold and household characteristics. Interventions to reduce PHLs should intensify awareness and mindset change, commercialization of rice production, best-fit practices and technologies foe smallholder farmers and collective action for groups of farmers to undertake some operations together.
Keywords: Smallholder farmer in Uganda, rice postharvest losses.