Improving post-harvest handling technologies for farmers in Northern Uganda: A case study of North East Chilli Producers Association
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Agriculture being the largest employer in Uganda has been faced with a challenge of drying not only in chilli but also other crops. Due to challenges in drying, post-harvest losses are estimated at 5-15% for cereals and legumes, 20-25% for root and tubers and over 35% for fruit and vegetables. The aim of this research study was to get the best post-harvest handling technology for chilli in Northern Uganda through drying. Due to post harvest losses farmers lose both in quality and quantity of the chilli. This compromises Uganda‘s ability to market her produce beyond East Africa especially to the Western world where quality is paramount.This research studied and identified the different post-harvest handling Technologies used by chilli farmers working with North East Chilli Producers Association (NECPA) for drying their chilli. The research study found that 91% of farmers interviewed use open air drying method leaving only 9% using improved solar dryer (the UV polythene sheet dryer). The factors for the use of these were: easy to use, readily available, relative cleanliness achieved. Using Analytical Hierarchy Process one of the multi criteria decision method, the study analysed 8 drying methods used by the farmers to dry their chilli. This method showed that the most appropriate method was the U.V polythene solar dryer. Key words: Analytical Hierarchy Process, Chilli, open air drying, post harvest handling, U.V Polythene sheet Solar Dryer.