Opportunities and challenges for integrating dairy cattle into farms with certified organic pineapple production as perceived by smallholder farmers in Central Uganda

Integrating dairy cattle with pineapple production is an opportunity for closed nutrient cycles and income diversification. However, knowledge, access to inputs, and organized markets are needed as incentive for conversion to organic dairy production.

2019.04.24 | Helene Uller-Kristensen

Integration of livestock into organic pineapple production is essential in closing nutrient cycles as required by organic principles and standards. In integrated crop-livestock systems, the emphasis must be put on biodiversity which promotes efficient nutrient recycling at low cost rather than on the nutrient importation from surrounding areas.   

Organic production will continue to grow globally since it offers effective means of satisfying consumer demands for healthy and safe food as well as contributing to non-economic factors such as environmental protection. While some countries in Europe and America practice certified organic livestock production, in Uganda, it is still non-existent. Livestock mainly exists in diversified smallholder farms but are not fully integrated. 

Organic pineapple production is becoming very important for smallholder farmers in Uganda due to the prevailing local, regional, and international organic markets. Currently, there are no large-scale producers of organic pineapples in Uganda. Production is exclusively by smallholder contract farmers organized in groups and registered under certified organic export companies which meet the cost of certification.     

Due to increased demand for organic livestock products, there are opportunities for smallholder farmers to convert to organic livestock production and benefit from related income diversification that will accrue from increased market share. It is relevant to consider such market-orientated development for sustainable livestock production targeting high-value markets for increased income and employment among smallholder farmers (ICROFS ). 

A recently published paper by S. Nalubwama, F. Kabi, M. Vaarst, M. Kiggundu and G. Smolder assesses opportunities, challenges, and risk factors of integrating dairy cattle into certified organic pineapple production as perceived by smallholder organic pineapple farmers and their willingness to convert the dairy production on their farms to certified organic.

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Agriculture and food
Tags: organic, pineapple production, conversion