Poor Quality Grain Affecting Farmer's Sales

1363 Views Fort Portal, Uganda

In short
Majority of the farmers dry their maize on bare grounds and dirty surface exposing it to dust and stones, while others use their bedrooms or kitchens to store their produce lowering its quality

Small holder maize farmers in Kabarole district have failed to earn big from their produce because of poor quality.  The poor quality maize cannot fetch the farmers a good price. The farmers lack access to modern equipment for cleaning, storing and drying their grain. 

Last month, Kabarole District Agricultural Department interviewed small holder farmers and found out that 85% of the farmers were making losses. Majority of the farmers dry their maize on bare ground and dirty surfaces exposing it to dust and stones, while others use their bedrooms or kitchens to store their produce lowering its quality. 

Large grain buyers like the World Food Programme (WFP) have rejected the grain due to poor quality. Moses Magezi, a maize farmer in Rwimi Sub County says the lack of machines to clean, dry and store the produce compromises quality. Magezi adds that since he doesn't have storage facilities, he is forced to sell maize at the harvest time when the prices are low. 

He says that there is need for the district agricultural authorities to help farmers improve their harvest methods and storage to avoid wastage. George Musinguzi, the chairperson Rwimi Maize Farmers Association says that the farmers are largely subsistence and lack sufficient means to get proper storage facilities.
He says that the facilities in the area are privately owned but costly. He says the association has tried to talk to the owners to store and clean their grain at a cheaper cost in vain. Musinguzi adds that last year World Food Programme rejected 110 tons of maize belonging to the association due to poor storage.
He however says the association is soliciting for funds to construct local granaries and purchase cleaning machines.

//Cue in: "selling together… 
Cue out: "…good bargaining power."// 

Richard Baguma, the acting Kabarole District Production Coordinator says most of the grain from the district is on demand, but it is at most times found to be broken, moldy and occasionally not dried properly.

He says that the district is in talks with the WFP to help farmers improve the quality of their grain through the provision of modern grain processing equipment to various farmer groups. Baguma explains that the equipment can be used to clean, dry, grade and bag grain and help farmers improve the quality of their grain and store it more safely to raise their income. 

Last year, the Uganda Cooperative Alliance (UCA) and Uganda National Farmers' Federation (UNFFE) in a research found that the largest grain-producing districts Kapachorwa, Mubende, Kabarole and Masindi are the hardest hit registering more than  Shillings 16billion in post-harvest losses every year.


About the author

Emmanuel Kajubu
Emmanuel Kajubu is proud to have been the first Ugandan journalist to write in depth pieces about the Tooro Kingdom institution. His knowledge of the inner workings of the Tooro Kingdom is what made him privy to the splits in the royal family. These splits almost challenged Tooro Omukama Oyo Nyimba Iguru's reign.

Culture, agriculture and the environment are just two areas of many of interest to Kajubu. As long as he has held a pen, Kajubu has also written about public policy, health and crime.

Kajubu is keen on impacting his society not just as a writer but also a trainer and mentor. Bundibugyo and Ntoroko districts fall under his docket. Kajubu has been a URN staff member since 2008.