Quantifying Physical and Economic Losses of African Indigenous Vegetable Solanum aethiopicum Along the Commercial Supply Value Chain

Kasharu A.K., E. B. Kizito, M. Masanza, J. Jjagwe, A. Namutebi


This paper is based on research work done by the authors on African Indigenous vegetables with financial support from the European Union and Forum for Agricultural Research in Africa (FARA) through its Promoting African & European Partnerships in Agricultural Research & Development (PAEPARD). This is part of the outputs of the project entitled “Enhancing nutrition security and incomes through adding value to indigenous vegetables in East and Central Uganda”.


This study presents results of a research that was conducted in Uganda to expound the issues of Solanum aethopicum (Nakati) value chain supply, physical and economic quantification of losses in the supply chain. Specifically the study was designed to; (i) identify and map the value chain actors of an indigenous leafy vegetable S. aethiopicum production and marketing and (ii) quantify the physical losses along the S. aethiopicum vegetable supply chain and (iii) estimate the economic losses along the S. aethiopicum vegetable supply chain.A Participatory Rural Appraisal (PRA) was conducted at Namulonge, Kabanyoro, Busukuma and Zirobwe villages on 7th August 2016, 9th August 2016, 10th August 2016 and 12th August 2016, respectively with the farmers to understand the S. aethiopicum actors’ perception of value chain vegetable losses and mitigating solutions. At each supply chain stage namely field, transit, wholesale and retail. The losses were expressed as difference of the weight of vegetables that entered each stage and weighed again  when the value adding  stage is completed which became the quantity that enters the subsequent stage, thus the losses were determined as a percentage of those that never went to market in relation to the total potential from the field.The value chain actor mapping has revealed a short a short value chain with a number of value chain actors namely; 60 input suppliers, 40 farmer groups, 42 wholesalers, 48 retailers, 2 processors and 61 transporters.  With the exception of agro input supply node which handle pesticides, the rest of the actors handle fresh leafy vegetables that are prone to heavy weight losses due to wilting, rotting and transit contamination. The study further indicated that the physical quantities of S. aethopicum harvested varied in different farms, nonetheless, on average 1473.3 kgs per acre of S. aethopicum is harvested and of the harvested vegetables, 69.4kgs and 73.7 kgs get lost in the field and marketing process, respectively. This translates into S. aethopicum vegetable losses of 13.3% and 5.2% in the field and market points, respectively. Most of this loss occurred on-farm with 13.3% of the harvested crop not entering the commercial-supply chain followed by retail level, 3.5% losses and least at wholesale level of 1.7%. In terms of economic losses, sale of S. aethopicum earned farmers on average 567,233 Shs per acre, sizeable revenue of 26,700 Shs and 53,192 Shs get lost in the field and marketing process, respectively. This is equivalent to S. aethopicum revenue losses of 18% and 35.9% in the field and market points, respectively. Overall, 79,892 Shs of S. aethopicum revenues was lost in the commercial supply chain constituting 53.9% of the losses. Break down of revenue losses showed that at farm level, the loss is 18%, at wholesale level the losses are 10.2% and at retail level losses are 25.7%.It therefore can be concluded that there is a high physical and economic losses of leafy S. aethopicum vegetables at different stages in the supply chain. More research efforts could be focussed on technologies that reduce post-harvest losses such as drying and minimal processing technologies at farm level where greatest losses are experienced.

Keywords: African indigenous vegetables, supply chain, economic loss, physical losses

DOI: 10.7176/JESD/10-2-08

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