Production risk and input use in banana production in Uganda
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This study investigated the effect of inputs and banana agronomic management practices on the mean yield and yield variability of bananas in Uganda. In addition, the study estimated returns from different inputs used in banana production. The study was based upon a survey of 403 banana producing households selected from the major banana producing regions of Uganda that included western, central and eastern covering 12 districts. The study used the Just and Pope stochastic production function specification to analyse the relationship between inputs and banana yield of farmers under production risk. Estimation of the returns from different inputs was achieved by determination of marginal value products and the total value products. The results showed that generally, labour, performance of agronomic management practices, use of fertiliser, mulch and manure were the most important factors affecting mean yields of bananas in the study area. Findings further revealed that the marginal value products of all the inputs used in banana production were higher than the marginal input costs established at prevailing market prices implying that additional use of the above inputs is profitable. In addition, labour, mulch and manure had a negative effect on variability in banana yields while fertiliser, agronomic frequency and extension increased the variability in yields of bananas across the sample farmers and hence are yield risk increasing. Given the high cost of fertiliser and its unavailability, manure and mulch use remain the only viable alternatives and hence promotion of their use should be emphasized in the extension package. Promotion of use of complementary agronomic practices such as weeding, deleafing, desuckering among others in addition to inputs should be given adequate emphasis in the extension package to enable farmers achieve stable yield levels. Overall, results imply that in addition to their effect on mean yields of crops, inputs and agronomic practices should be tested for their effect on yield variability in the target areas.