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Niels Halberg

Challenges and prospects of integrating livestock into smallholder organic pineapple production in Uganda

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  • S. Nalubwama, Department of Livestock and Industrial Resources, Makerere University, Uganda
  • Mette Vaarst
  • F. Kabi, Department of Agricultural Production, Makerere University, Uganda
  • M. Kiggundu, Department of Agricultural Production, Makerere University, Unknown
  • F. Bagamba, Department of Agricultural Production, Makerere University, Unknown
  • C. Odhong, College of Agriculture and Veterinary Sciences, University of Nairobi, Kenya
  • A. Mugisha, College of Agriculture and Veterinary Sciences, University of Nairobi, Kenya
  • N. Halberg

This study was conducted to investigate challenges of integrating livestock into organic pineapple farming so as to develop strategies to enhance integration of livestock for purposes of improving soil fertility for sustainable organic pineapple productivity among smallholder farmers. Such sustainable integrated production of crops and livestock was envisaged to improve quality of organic pineapples and animal products that can easily tap into niche organic markets. Using a semi-structured questionnaire, individual interviews were conducted among selected smallholder certified organic pineapple farmers in Kayunga and Luwero districts of Uganda. Results showed that the organic pineapple farms in the study area varied widely. Average farm sizes were 4.8 acres in Kayunga and Luwero district. Farmers in both districts used family labor (72%) for most farm activities. However, hired labor was employed during periods of planting, weeding and harvesting of pineapples. The farms kept different livestock species mainly cows, goats, pigs and chicken. Majority of the organic farms in Kayunga (37.8%) and Luwero (41.5%) had two livestock species of mostly indigenous breeds. Tethering was the most common management system for ruminants while chicken and pigs were kept on free range. Chi-square tests showed a significant (P<0.05) relationship between management system and the breeds of cattle kept in the study area. Most indigenous breeds were tethered while cross breeds were zero grazed. The most common animal feed resources were natural pastures and crop residues. Challenges encountered by the smallholder farmers were mainly feed shortages in the dry season, livestock pests, diseases and limited knowledge on organic husbandry practices. The major pests and diseases included helminths, ticks, East Coast fever and Newcastle disease. Despite being organic farms, the use of synthetic chemical drugs still remained the major intervention for animal disease control. The presence of non-organic herds and certified organic pineapple crops within the same production unit as well as pests and disease challenges to livestock production were identified as major obstacles for integrated crop-livestock production among the smallholder organic farmers. A move towards having organic farms orientated towards organic livestock production will possibly enable farmers benefit from a fully integrated organic system with the benefit of accessing niche markets for the organic animal products. Infrastructural development, research and improving farmer's education are suggested strategies that might support integrated smallholder organic pineapple production.

Original languageEnglish
JournalLivestock Research for Rural Development
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2014

    Research areas

  • Certified, Farming system, Nutrient recycling, Organic livestock production, Organic principles, Productivity

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