All large municipal markets should have specific space for selling certified organic products in the country as a way of giving them more awareness among Ugandan consumers.
The call was made by farmers under Eastern and Southern Africa Small Scale Farmers Forum (ESAFF).
Going by global food consumption trends, it now clear that there is big potential for organic farming in Uganda and across the world. However, many Ugandans are not aware of the sector mainly because the foods are sold in the same markets as other foods.
Therefore, it would be wise that any future construction of large and small markets should have specific space for certified organic foods.
According to the agriculture ministry, as of 2019, Uganda had over 210,352 internationally certified organic farmers, the first and second largest certified farmers in Africa and world over respectively. The highest number is found in India. Uganda had the world’s 13th-largest land area under organic agriculture production and the most in Africa.
In 2019, Uganda had around 262,282 hectares of land under organic farming covering more than 2%t of agricultural land.
So, clearly, now is the time for Ugandans to grab this opportunity.
“Our potential can put about 500,000 hectares under organic and 500,000 farmers certified internationally. If this is done, the volume of organic produce will increase from the current 115,02 metric tonnes to 210,000 metric tonnes.
“Member organisations are over 500 in Uganda and outside the country. The value of trade less organic turnover is currently over $50m per annum. The demand for organic products from Uganda is high about $600m,” the ministry says.
Ronald Bagaga from ESAFF says there is a big opportunity for Ugandan coffee farmers to earn from the organic market too.
“There is big potential even for organic coffee farmers given the fact that coffee is the leading income earner,” he says.
Bagaga adds that products grown organically and sourced from Uganda include coffee (both Robusta and Arabica), cotton (lint, yarn and finished garments), sesame (simsim), dried fruit (pineapples, apple bananas, mangoes, jack-fruit), fresh fruits (pineapple, apple bananas, passion fruits, avocadoes, papaya (pawpaw), ginger), jackfruit, vanilla, cocoa, fish, shea butter and shea nuts, bird eyed chilies, dried hibiscus, honey and bark cloth.
The farmers, led by Christopher Magala, a coffee farmer from Mukono district and Margaret Kisakye from Masaka district, call upon the Government to give more support to organic farmers because this will not only be empowering them financially, but also improving the lives of Ugandans given the fact that organic products are medicinal too.