Posts Tagged ‘Local Content’

Post Harvet Handling

A farmer, Mukose Mudodi from Mayuge district planted 2 acres of maize. When ripe for harvest, he took his whole family of five to get the crop from the garden. That evening, and for the next three days, his wife sold the cobs either fresh or boiled at the market every evening. However, by the fourth day, the cobs were going bad already. He then decided to sun dry and mill them to get flour. Imagine the quality of flour that resulted? Also, imagine the degree of palatability to humans?

This is a common trend among farmers in Uganda. They are oblivious of the fact that as soon as a crop is removed from the ground, or separated from its parent plant, it begins to deteriorate; thereby calling for immediate post harvest handling.

In agriculture, postharvest handling is that stage of crop production immediately following harvest. It includes cooling, cleaning, sorting, processing and packing. Post-harvest treatment largely determines final quality, whether a crop is sold for fresh consumption, used as an ingredient in a processed food product or sold in a processed form. Post-harvest handling is one of the major determinants of the final quality. This is what farmers’ do not do often resulting in rot of their crops and/or price wars leading to lower prices as compared to cost of production.

Many farmers often do not take to this stage of farming because either they do not know how to or financial challenges crop in. Some of them are not even aware of the value added and especially in relation to cost. All Mukose Mudodi had to do was to sell his cobs fresh for the first day. After that, probably sun-dry them and obtain flour for sell. That way, he would be more in control of how much he sells his milled maize. In a milled form, he can store it till the bumper sells have decreased and the prices have gone higher.

Another issue of concern here is: does he have the money to mill it? Or the mill to do it himself? Does he have packaging materials? Poor post handling procedures for the maize crop for instance can lead to development of aflatoxins. These when consumed by humans can lead to stomach upsets and even death especially when taken in huge amounts.

To process or not to is a decision a farmer has to make even before planting the crop. That way, he/she will be more prepared and hence less losses

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How to Use Banana Stems in an Inovative way

Mary Nakirya

Source of picture: Organic Farming

Banana stems are known to keep for a long period of time. Some farmers have gone ahead to utilize these stemas and plant short root crops within these stems. This is done by diging small holes in the stem with the help of a knife or panga,add a little soil, and plant as required. This allows plant growth even during dry periods without irrigation. This type of planting also helps to minimise space and resources. It is affordable since banana stems are readly available to farmers in almost all African Countries.

Due to their water retaining capacity,banana stems once rotten can be used as fertilizers. This works even in plantation crops.It is important to cut them into pieces before using as a fertilizer so as they do not act as a hiding place for insects.

crops in a banana stem

crops planted in banana stems

How to Grow the Pomegranate Fruit

By Mulopi Joseph, CELAC Mayuge

Pomegranate is a tree with fruits like oranges and the inside seeds like those of maize. It is eaten fresh while roots are used by some people to treat stomach problems.

The powder of dry leaves can be used to lessen diabetes
symptoms.

The fruit has a relatively good level of carbohydrates with substantial sugar.
It contains high levels of citric acid, root bark and dried rids contains
tannins which is essential to the development of flavor in red wines.

It grows best in dry climates and requires high temperature during
fruiting and sufficient moisture to give good yield. Does best in
well-drained ordinary soil, but also does well on acidic loam as well as
rocky soil.

Plant by either seeds or cuttings at a spacing of 2 m x2 m or 5m x 5m.
Maturity is at 4 – 8 years and the fruit matures 6 to 7 months after flowering. The crop carries good market with Asians and people from the coast.