Economic Analysis of Post-Harvest Losses in Sweet potato marketing in Rachuonyo District - Kenya

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Gichangi, A.W.
Wamuyu, J.G.
Macharia, N.
Ndungu, J.
Karanja, L.
Malinga, J.
Lelgut, D.K.
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The major problems in agrarian economy include post-harvest losses during handling, transportation, storage and distribution. Many studies have attempted to estimate the post harvest losses at various stages of marketing of agricultural produce, most of the studies have not separated the loss component during handling at different stages of marketing. Such losses are often included as a separate item in the marketing margins, costs and price-spread. Multistage random sampling technique was used for the selection of study area and the sampling units. Rachuonyo district was positively selected for the study, as it is the major sweetpotato growing district for var. Nyathiodiewo. In the second stage, the Kisumu rural district was selected for losses estimation at farm level. Consumers in the major cities of Kenya positively selected the variety for this study for being the most preferred variety. The data were obtained from the survey of sample producers of sweetpotato and various market intermediaries through personal interview with the help of pre-tested and structured schedules. The data collected from the farmer respondents included general information about the cultivation of sweetpotato, methods of harvesting, cleaning and sorting, collection point, mode of packaging, storage system, mode of transportation and losses during post-harvest operations. A separate schedule was developed and used for eliciting information from market intermediaries who deal in sweetpotato roots. This included information on quantity purchased, mode of transport, storage, and purchase and quantity marketed. Results indicated that about 65-75 % of sweetpotato was marketed through wholesale channel and farmer group channel. The post-harvest losses were as high as 30 % in the wholesale channel; comprising 6 % at the field and assembly level, 7 % at the wholesale level and 17 % at the retail level. The losses in farmer group channel were higher in the first stage of handling. Rejection of substandard produce by the traders and consumers were the major reasons for most of the losses accrued by the farmer. The total marketing cost for all stages was higher in the wholesale charmel, which amounted to 4.2% compared to 0.57% in the farmer group channel.Marketing Cost has been identified major constraint in the wholesale channel and bringing down the costs particularly the commission charges as demonstrated in the farmer group channel,will help in reducing the prices spread and increasing the producers margin.It is appropriate to account for the marketing losses separately for precise estimation of margins and efficiency
East African Agricultural And Forestry Journal, 79 (No 1), pp. 23-28