Overview of the Current Status of Uganda’s Banana Sector: Formalizing the Matooke Sector may not be the Best Policy Option

Hyejin Lee1 , * Open Modal Authors Info & Affiliations
The Open Agriculture Journal 15 Nov 2023 REVIEW ARTICLE DOI: 10.2174/0118743315252945231106071452


Banana or matooke holds a matchless place in the Ugandan livelihoods. It serves as a food security crop, income source, main dish, cultural artifact, and other daily purposes. The crop is grown mainly for subsistence with little input investment, resulting in overall low productivity. Currently, the southwestern region of the country is the largest banana-producing area overtaking the central, and the geographical shifts are aligned with the gradual changes in the Ugandan society as well as the agro environments. Different from conventional thoughts, the matooke value chain does not appear to marginalize a particular group, farmers. Matooke producers maintain wide varietal diversity based on specific production goals, and improved hybrid adoption is low due to unique banana-plot replacement, cultivar diversity, and plantlet delivery systems. High adoption of biofortified matooke appears questionable because of genetic modification and other relevant issues. Overall, the matooke value chain seems to operate rather flexibly, being built on organized informality and social networks. This implies that pushing for a formalized system may not be the best policy decision for the matooke sector. Nonetheless, public interventions could be prioritized for improved matooke production and distribution by investing in extension services, grading criteria, and road/infrastructure.

Keywords: Agriculture, Banana, Food security, Matooke, Uganda, Value chain.
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