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Ugandan farmers lose 30% of harvest to poor practices

By Taddeo Bwambale

Added 12th July 2017 04:06 PM

Rice and maize are two of Uganda’s most important cereals to guarantee food security

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Rice and maize are two of Uganda’s most important cereals to guarantee food security

KOICA country director Jun Jung-Suk, South Korean ambassador Park Jong-Dae, State Minister for Agriculture, Christopher Kibazanga, and director agriculture extension services Beatrice Byarugaba display copies of the maize and rice agro-processing and marketing strategy during its official launch. Photo by Maria Wamala

The average Ugandan farmer loses about 30% of their maize or rice output due to poor post-handling practices, a new survey reveals.

A 2014 baseline survey on rice farming in four eastern districts of Mbale, Butaleja, Bugiri and Iganga show that farmers rely on poor techniques of threshing, storing, packaging and transporting rice.

The same survey conducted in Kasese, Kibaale, Hoima and Masindi show that farmers rely on outdated practices involving shelling, drying, storing, packaging and transportation of maize.

Rice and maize are two of Uganda’s most important cereals to guarantee food security. Government on Tuesday unveiled a new plan to significantly improve the production, processing and sale of the crops.

The new plan targets to help farmers cut post-harvest losses and increase their incomes by improving handling, storage and access to markets.

The new plan was designed by the agriculture ministry in collaboration with the Korean International Cooperation Agency. It will require sh180b to roll out to more districts over the next five years.

Maize provides over 40% calories consumed in both rural and urban areas. The cop has become a major staple food in many parts of the country due to changes in people’s eating habits.

Rice has become a major food security crop, as well as a cash crop, in several districts in Uganda. Its cultivation has increased partly due to the introduction of upland rice varieties.

Rice production has increased sharply from 80,000 tonnes in 2004 to 293,193 tonnes in 2015, according to statistics from the Uganda Bureau of Statistics.

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