Journal of
Agricultural Extension and Rural Development

  • Abbreviation: J. Agric. Ext. Rural Dev
  • Language: English
  • ISSN: 2141-2170
  • DOI: 10.5897/JAERD
  • Start Year: 2009
  • Published Articles: 489

Full Length Research Paper

Local knowledge of maturity indicators for priority fruits and vegetables in Uganda

Paul Okiror
  • Paul Okiror
  • Faculty of Science, Mbarara University of Science and Technology, P. O. Box 1410, Mbarara, Uganda.
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Paul Balitta
  • Paul Balitta
  • National Forestry Resources Research Institute, P. O. Box 1752, Kampala, Uganda.
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Jacob Godfrey Agea
  • Jacob Godfrey Agea
  • School of Agricultural Sciences, Makerere University, P. O. Box 7062, Kampala, Uganda.
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Jolly Joe Ocan
  • Jolly Joe Ocan
  • School of Engineering, Makerere University, P. O. Box 7062, Kampala, Uganda.
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Julius Bunny Lejju
  • Julius Bunny Lejju
  • Faculty of Science, Mbarara University of Science and Technology, P. O. Box 1410, Mbarara, Uganda.
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Joseph Bahati
  • Joseph Bahati
  • School of Forestry, Environmental and Geographical Sciences, Makerere University, P. O. Box 7062, Kampala, Uganda.
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Grace Kagoro Rugunda
  • Grace Kagoro Rugunda
  • Faculty of Science, Mbarara University of Science and Technology, P. O. Box 1410, Mbarara, Uganda.
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Collins Inno Sebuuwufu
  • Collins Inno Sebuuwufu
  • Faculty of Science, Mbarara University of Science and Technology, P. O. Box 1410, Mbarara, Uganda.
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  •  Received: 15 April 2017
  •  Accepted: 24 May 2017
  •  Published: 31 July 2017

Abstract

Local knowledge on maturity indicators is important in determining optimal time of harvesting fruits and vegetables. These farm products are increasingly becoming a valuable source of livelihood for many rural families through household consumption and trade. Unfortunately, there is a dearth of literature on the integration of local knowledge and practices in improving maturity assessment techniques with the view of promoting optimal harvesting and consumer acceptability of fruits and vegetables in Uganda. A study was undertaken between April and September 2014 to prioritize viable fruits and vegetables, ascertain socio-economic characteristics influencing maturity assessments, assess local knowledge on maturity indicators and document maturity assessment challenges faced by fruit and vegetable farmers, transporters and traders in Kampala, Rubirizi and Sheema districts. A total of 102 respondents were interviewed as corroborative measure to field visits and focused group discussions involving 27 participants. The findings indicate that passion fruit, watermelon and pineapple were the most preferred fruits while tomato, cabbage and eggplant were highly ranked among vegetables. About 99% of the respondents were knowledgeable about fruit and vegetable maturity indicators. The knowledge of maturity indicators appears to be associated with gender, age, education level, marital status, household size and occupation of the respondents. The maturity indicators used include colour for pineapple (100%, N=102), passion fruit (100%), tomato (90%) and watermelon (11%). Size is used as a maturity indicator for pumpkin, eggplant and cabbage by 100%, 85% and 50% of the respondents, respectively. Respondents felt that the maturity indicators they use are inaccurate (53%) and are influenced by pest and disease infestation (40%), weather (5.8%) and soil (1.4%) conditions. To leverage adoption, participatory design and development of noninvasive maturity assessment tools is, therefore, recommended.

Key words: Farmer, fruit, local knowledge, maturity indicator, trader, Uganda, vegetable.