Marketing of banana and banana products in Uganda: Results of a rapid rural appraisal

Type Report
Title Marketing of banana and banana products in Uganda: Results of a rapid rural appraisal
Publication (Day/Month/Year) 1994
URL of banana (working paper) 1994.pdf
This report concerns a survey undertaken by NRI in Uganda
during September and December 1993, which sought to
characterise the banana and banana beer marketing
systems. The study follows on from the recommendations
of the Banana Based Cropping System Rapid Rural Appraisal
(1991), and focuses upon the Kampala market.
The importance of banana as the major food crop has been
highlighted, with freshness and maturity of the fruit of
prime importance to consumers.
The banana marketing system appeared to be highly
competitive at all stages of the marketing chain and was
generally considered to function and perform well.
Post-harvest losses appear to be low at the urban trader
level; it is estimated that in the order of 10 to 15% of
produce is sold at a price discount. At the truck trader
level, post-harvest losses were found to be low being in
the order of 1 to 10% of the value of each consignment.
The scope for potential cost-effective technical
interventions is therefore limited.
Given consumer preference for a fresh product, a
processed banana product is unlikely to offer an
alternative or improvement in the eye of the consumer.
Processed or novel products therefore need to focus upon
new markets. Snack food was identified as a potential
market provided a simple low cost snack food can be
Banana beer appears to be a minor beverage for the urban
consumer, where the market is unlikely to increase
significantly as the economy expands.
Poor hygiene was cited by wealthier consumers as a major
consideration in not purchasing and consuming banana
beer. Any potential market for a better quality banana
beer, however, is limited by the well established market
for bottled beer and the image of banana beer as a "poor
man's beer". For the lower income consumer, banana beer
is attractive as a cheap alcoholic beverage, and any
technical intervention aimed at improving beer quality
must therefore have no or little impact on price if it to
meet success.
Post-harvest losses at the retail level were reported but
are unlikely to be significant given the competitive
nature of the marketing system.
A potential market for banana juice was identified.
However, any technical intervention associated with
improving shelf-life and hygiene must be cost effective,
since any banana juice product will have to compete on
price terms with the crepe and soda markets.
Waste material collected by the city council is not
utilised by the council or livestock farmer, the latter
because the material comprises both organic and inorganic
material. Prior to any proposed utilisation of this
waste, both the potential demand for livestock feed would
have to be established as well as the implications of the
seasonal nature of demand for livestock feed.
An informal system for collecting, sorting and
transporting banana peels was identified, with market
vendors who prepare meals for sale, identified as the
major source of peels. The concentrated nature of the
cooking stalls facilitates collection and sorting,
keeping costs to a minimum.

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