Hassan Serwadda, a resident of Nsiima Salaam Nazigo trading centre in Kayunga district, is a commercial farmer who grows mainly pineapples.
Serwadda says pineapples don’t require very fertile soils because they are able to survive in poor soils since they have a big root system.
They do very well in acidic soils which must be well-drained. While it is prudent to plant suckers because they grow faster, one can use the tops from fruits though they take long to yield.
According to Serwadda, pineapples take up a lot of their nutrition through their leaves, and the first few months after planting, they rely only on their leaves.
“If you use fertilisers, spray a liquid one on the leaves. However, you should avoid using concentrated fertiliser as it will burn the leaves. When I knew all this that’s why I decided to grow with this project”, he says.
In Uganda, the fruit is grown widely in Luwero, Mityana, Kayunga and Masaka districts, the islands of Lake Victoria and parts of western Uganda. They are sold both in local markets and exported to other countries.
In Uganda, the mainly grown types include smooth cayenne, red Spanish, queen and abacaxi.
Serwadda gives some tips on pineapple growing;
-Look for a piece of land with black, loam soils.
-Fertilise the soils using organic matter. It may be animal dung or any other rotting material.
-Use wood dust or coffee husks for mulching because they help maintain moisture in the soils.
-Then look for the suckers from recognised farmers. The average cost of each sucker is sh500-sh1,000.
-For an acre, you need between 8,000 to 10,000 suckers, if you are planting them one-and-a-half feet from the other.
-After planting and depending on whether they are organic or not, you have to fight off pests. For organic, there are organic pesticides on the market. You can also use animal or human urine to fight pests.
You can weed by manually uprooting grass from between the rows of pineapples. Too much grass suffocates them.
-Pineapples take 18 months from planting to fruiting. That is when you start harvesting.