Maize which remains the most important food crops in the sub-Saharan Africa is expected to register about a 10% drop in net production globally by 2055. Poor farming techniques, economic diversification in the developing countries due to increased industrialization, could partly explain this trend but addressing food security problem reflected in the world malnourished figures remains a core component of the sustainable development goals. Initiatives such as mechanization intended to boost which are geared towards boosting agricultural production have not registered much success especially in the sub-Saharan African region, largely due to diversities in climates, soils, poverty, culture which often influence the choice of farming techniques. This survey was formulated on the hypothesis that technologies that have worked elsewhere might not necessarily be applicable to other areas without any necessary modifications and/or end-user involvement at the design stage. A human centred design (HCD) approach was adopted; an extended survey using semi-structured interviews and focus group discussions conducted among smallholder maize farmers (randomly sampled) in Nakasongola district (first phase of the bigger sample space) to explore their views and perceptions that would likely influence the uptake of the proposed maize thresher (‘Kungula’). Findings show a significant diversity on the crops grown and the amount of land tilled by the smallholder farmers largely due to food insecurity and land tenure system. Post-harvest handling of maize still remains a challenge and rudimentary tools are still popular amongst farmers. There is also a general negativity around the costs of agricultural mechanization but respondents expressed willingness to adopt any technology that would ease their work provided incentives and in a few cases trainings are provided. However, lack of a proper distribution model is one of the hindrances to access of farm inputs which should substantially be addressed. The role of government and other key stakeholder towards economic empowerment of indigenous farmers is still very vital as the success of this user-centred approach hinges largely on the level of economic capability of the final users.
Key words: Maize, farmers, perception, Kungula, thresher.
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