Rice Production and Post-harvest handling Practices
Consumers prefer aromatic to non-aromatic rice, sticky to non-sticky, unbroken to broken and bulging after cooking to rice that does not bulge, white milled rice to brown.
Total rice consumption is estimated at 175,000 MT (milled rice) annually. Consumption per capita is about 6-8Kg. Total production is estimated at 115,000 MT (milled rice) annually leaving a deficit of 60,000 MT (milled rice) annually which is catered for by importation. The total population of Uganda is 28 million with annual growth rate of 3.2% (UBOS, 2005) indicating that rice consumption is likely to increase every year.
About 0.1% (68,446 Ha) of farmland in Uganda is under large scale farming whereas 99% (8,400,789Ha) is under small-scale farming. Although most rice farmers are practicing small scale farming, most rice is widely grown at a slightly larger acreage than that of other food crops/non-traditional cash crops mainly because rice is grown as pure stand unlike other crops that are inter-cropped.
About 80% of rice farmers in Uganda are small scale farmers with acreage of less than 2 hectares. They use simple technologies which include use of rudimentary tools, little or no fertilizer use, and poor quality seed, with little or no irrigation and poor water management practices among others.
About 15% of the rice farmers are medium-scale rice producers with acreage of 2 – 6 hectares (5 to 15 acres). They practice mechanized ploughing but the remaining farm activities involve low technology similar to that of small scale producers.
The remaining 5% are large scale farmers growing rice on over 6 hectares. Among these are rice schemes with acreage of over 1,000 hectares. Large scale farmers practice mechanized farming and use improved farm inputs. Fertilizer use though, is still low.