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Market opportunities for Ugandan banana products: national, regional, and global perspectives
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Banana (Musa spp.) is the most important food crop in Uganda, and it is also the most important income source for the majority of the Ugandan farmers, especially in the Western Ugandan Regions. Besides pests, diseases and declining soil fertility, marketing seems to be a major constraint to production and income generation in the banana sector. To address these problems, the project on Improvement of Banana Marketing and Utilization in Uganda, a joint venture of NARO/NBRP, Makerere University and Inernational Institute of Tropical Agriculture (ITTA), seeks new ways of marketing bananas nationally, regionally and globally. The paper discusses the findings of initial surveys on the status quo of banana marketing in Uganda. During a farm and household survey, data on banana supply, marketing and demand have beencollected and analysed. In a survey of secondary data, international banana markets have been evaluated. It is clear that, although the second biggest banana producer in the world, Uganda lags far behind in terms of trade shares. However, global markets are of high competition, high dynamics and a high diversification in terms of banana varieties and products. Conclusions are that, the domestic markets, for the fresh product of matooke, price and income elasticities are low, and productivity increases are not likely to yield revenue increases for farmers. What could be feasible, is re-organising the marketing chain, in favour of the farmers. Processing has various promising perspectives especially in the high elasticity juice and alcoholic beverages sector. Concerning international trade, Uganda faces high competition on saturated markets.Key factors are the re-organisation of domestic production to obtain quantities and qualities required on global markets. Niches like seasonal highs of prices, and organic fruit markets can be exploited.