Cowpea (Vigna unguiculata), Chickpea (Cicer arietinum) and Pigeon pea (Cajanus cajan) are among important food legumes in African small scale agricultural systems and livelihoods of many rural poor. High volumes of these food legumes are lost during storage, mostly to a group of beetles called bruchids. To be able to develop safe, sustainable and effective practices of managing storage bruchids, it was critical to first understand farmers’ indigenous innovations of handling food legumes in the selected regions. A household survey was conducted to determine the various indigenous innovations used in postharvest handling of food legumes in purposively selected areas in South-western, Northern, and Eastern regions of Uganda. A total of 468 households were covered and data was collected using a pretested semi-structured questionnaire focusing on major postharvest handling innovations. Results indicated that there were differences in terms of innovations used by farmers in postharvest handling of food legumes across the three study regions. Results also revealed that the targeted legumes were mostly dried on bare ground whereas in other cases were left to dry in the fields. Over 63% of households in Northern region used synthetic pesticides to manage bruchids whereas over 80 and 58% in South-western and Eastern regions used indigenous innovations respectively. The indigenous innovations identified for bruchids management were; wood ash, cowdung ash, goat pellets, pesticidal plants, airtight created conditions, and frequent sun drying of grains. Other innovations reported included use of finely crushed burnt bricks. There was no standard procedure during the use of indigenous innovations among households to achieve consistent protection of storage legume grains against bruchids. The study suggests the need for sustainable and easily adaptable innovations for improved postharvest handling of not only targeted grain legumes but also other food legumes under smallholder farming systems in Uganda.
Key words: Bruchids, innovations, grain legumes, food, nutrition.
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