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Uganda: Organic Market Expands

David Ssempijja

Kampala — Uganda’s capacity to earn up to $100m per year from the $50b organic products world market has been hampered by the low levels of production. Uganda exported $30m (about sh66b) worth of dried and fresh organic products to different countries during 2008/09.

Organic farming is the form of agriculture that relies on techniques such as crop rotation, green manure, compost, and biological pest control, to maintain soil productivity and control pests on a farm. Organic farming excludes or strictly limits the use of manufactured fertilisers and pesticides, plant growth regulators such as hormones, livestock anti-biotics, food additives and genetically modified organisms.

The low output has left local exporters to consistently fall short of their orders, Frederick Musisi, the chairman of the National Organic Agriculture Movement of Uganda (NOGAMU), said.

Musisi indicated that the national body lacked resources to train farmers in the required international standards of organic products. “The markets where we sell require strict compliance.

“We must have globally certified products, but it takes a lot of technology, money and time to attain the required degree through observation of the internal control systems,” he said.

Musisi made the speech during the national organic farmers’ day celebrations at Iganga district grounds recently.

The celebrations were conducted under the theme “Strengthening market linkages for organic farmers.” Charity Namuwoza, the NOGAMU international marketing officer, was dismayed that though the body’s membership had grown to 292 organisations, representing over one million smallholder farmers, only 200,000 farmers were producing organically-certified products for the world market.

“We request the Government to help in funding farmers’ training and avail us with processing machines so that we can add-value before exporting especially through drying our perishables,” she said.

Source: Image: thehomeofplenty

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