Demonstration gardens enhancing mindset change and uptake of Ecological Organic Practices.
Globally, there is unprecedented increase in the use of agricultural inputs, and particularly inorganic fertilizers, pesticides and irrigation systems driven by the increasing population and the pressure to intensify production. Such practices have resulted in negative impacts on soils and biodiversity thereby affecting crop and animal genetic diversity and welfare, human nutrition and increased costs for public health, and communities’ vulnerability to external shocks. Africa, and particularly Sub-Saharan Africa, has been under increasing focus to improve agriculture and food systems to make them more resilient and sustainable. Ecological organic production systems can ensure and sustain local food security and sovereignty, ecosystem services for rural welfare and biodiversity conservation. Ecological agriculture fosters biodiversity that is resilient to impacts of climate change.
ESAFF Uganda with financial support from Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation (SDC) is implementing the Ecological Organic Agriculture Initiative in Luweero, Wakiso, Mukono and Masaka. In order to systematically inform producers about the EOA approaches and good practices and motivate their uptake and substantially increase the share of quality organic products at the local, national and regional markets, ESAFF Uganda started up 3 demonstration centers of coffee and pineapples in Mukono, Masaka and Luweero. ESAFF Uganda believes that the gardens will encourage farmer to farmer learning through hands-on training and motivate uptake of Ecological Organic Agriculture practices among small scale farmers. Crops to be grown on the demonstration centers were selected on the basis of accessibility, fertility of land, popularity of crop, climatic conditions of the area among other reasons.
Miiro James the care taker of the Mwanyi Buggaga coffee demonstration center says that he has noted a great attitude change among the small-scale farmers that he has taught how to grow coffee in an organic way. He adds that he has been approached on many occasions by some local leaders to train small-scale farmers in other sub counties which he has gladly done.
Kisekka Ibrahim, the host of the Kaija Produce dealer’s Pineapple demonstration garden says that many small-scale farmers in his village have appreciated growing pineapples in an organic way and some have started up small gardens to put in practice what they have learnt. “There is serious competition and demotivating propaganda from pineapple farmers from within using inorganic inputs coupled with the poor perception among small-scale farmers in the community on organic farming thus making it difficult in convincing other farmers on the benefits of organic farming.” Kisekka added
ESAFF Uganda believes that through learning and applying EOA methods across the whole commodity value chain, there will be an increase in production, income, food security and ultimately organic producers’ welfare.
Read more about the demonstration centres here: https://bit.ly/3y0VPcI