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Presentation: Performance of the OFSP chain in Mukono District, Uganda

Sweetpotato (Ipomeabatatas. (L.) Lam.) is a versatile nutritious crop widely grown by smallholder farmers in Uganda. The Orange-fleshed varieties (OFSP) are an important cheap source of beta carotene, a Vitamin A precursor which can combat Vitamin A Deficiency. A number of initiatives have thus been made to popularize its production and consumption.    However, OFSP is rarely available in local and urban markets.  This study therefore sought to analyze the dynamics that influence the performance of the OFSP chain in Mukono district, Uganda.  Specifically, it aimed to: characterize the chain, assess factors that influence farmers’ decision to participate in the market and evaluate constraints faced by OFSP farmers.   A cross sectional study was done and data were collected from 123 farmers, 37 traders, 24 consumers, and nine key informants.  Data was analyzed using SPSS and Stata statistical packages. Results indicate that the OFSP chain is disorganized, with minimal stable relationships amongst the chain actors, who carry out dual functions in production and marketing.  A Multinomial regression model was run based on three categories of participants: net buyers (n=21), autarkic (n=48) and net sellers (n=54), the latter being the base outcome.  Out of the hypothesized variables that were considered to affect market participation, fertilizer use (P≤0.01), labor costs (P≤0.05)   and rank of the OFSP enterprise within a farmer’s portfolio (P≤0.1)   were found to be significant for the autarkic category. Similarly, length of experience in OFSP production (P≤0.1) and fertilizer use (P≤0.1) were significant for net buyers. A Tobit regression model was run to estimate factors determining extent of participation, and results revealed that labor costs (P≤0.01), fertilizer use (P≤0.05), sex of household head (P≤0.1), importance of OFSP in the farmers’ enterprise portfolio (P≤0.1) and access to extension services ((P≤0.1) were positively significant. Three types of constraints facing OFSP farmers were evaluated, and results revealed production constraints as drought, pests and diseases, rotting of vines and roots and access to credit.  Post-harvest related constraints included high perishability of roots and vines, drudgery of post-harvest practices and bulkiness, while market constraints included lack of buyers, price fluctuation, limited access to market information, poor roads, and low preference of OFSP by traders and consumers.   The study recommends chain upgrading and development using the Agricultural Innovations Systems approach.  Further research efforts could focus on gender transformative OFSP value chains, which seek to address challenges chain actors face throughout the chain in order to improve availability and consumption of OFSP.

HOW TO CITE

Mayanja, S. 2015. Performance of the OFSP chain in Mukono District, Uganda. International Potato Center (CIP), Uganda.