Comparative analysis of farmer-to-farmer and participatory extension approaches in the promotion of maize postharvest handling technologies among smallholder farmers in Uganda
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Despite various interventions in postharvest handling value chain of grains, farmers in Uganda still experience postharvest losses estimated at 10-15%. These loses result from improper postharvest handling, variation between knowledge and practices and low adoption of postharvest handling technologies (Muyonga, et al., 2015).In this study, a comparative analysis was carried out to establish the level of adoption in Farmer to Farmer and participatory extension approaches in the districts of Apac, Kamuli and Nakasongola. A longitudinal research design characterized by three phases was adopted. These were; identification of postharvest handling constraints and possible solutions, training and dissemination of selected technologies and an evaluation on the level of uptake in both the extension approaches.21 gender sensitive farmer groups consisting of 20-34 members participated in focus group discussions that were carried out in phase one, two and three. Additionally, a household survey of 210 respondents randomly selected from the 21 farmer groups was carried out in third phase. The key findings revealed adoption of PHH technologies was more among farmers under the participatory approach compared to those under farmer-to-farmer approach. Further Kamuli district exhibited high levels of promotion of PHH technologies compared to Apac and Nakasongola. More still, the study established that factors that triggered adoption and utilization of the technologies related to nature of dissemination pathways, perceived benefits of the innovations,nature of the technologies and farmers social economic characteristics. The study also established that whereas the two extension approaches were helpful in the promotion of maize postharvest handling technologies, participatory extension approach was more effective sustainable utilization and diffusion of the innovations. Finally, the study researcher recommended that; government and other development agencies should adopt collective identification of challenges and appropriate solutions when implementing different programs.