Factors Influencing the Choice of Storage Technologies by Smallholder Potato Farmers in Eastern and Southwestern Uganda
Potato is a key food and cash crop in Uganda, mainly produced by smallholder farmers in the eastern and southwestern highlands of the country. This study assessed different factors influencing the choice of storage technologies by Ugandan potato farmers. Data were collected from 240 potato farmers using structured questionnaires in key potato producing districts in eastern and southwestern Uganda. Data were analysed using descriptive statistics and the multinomial probit regression model. Results indicate that potato farmers have limited access to credit and adequate extension services. Furthermore, most of the potato production is sold immediately after harvest. Although significant quantities of potato are stored as food for the household and seed for the next season, very few farmers store ware potato for later sale at a higher price. The farmer households generally use light storage technologies designed for seed storage, while dark stores required for proper ware potato storage are rarely used. Results for factors influencing the choice of storage technologies were mixed, and the extent and direction of influence varied with technology. The predominant factors that positively influenced the choice of dark storage technologies or a combination of different storage technologies included monthly income from sources other than potato sales, access to storage management advice and access to credit. This study recommends enhancing farmers’ access to adequate extension services and credit to promote good ware potato storage conditions.