New organic Statistics reports indicate growth in certified organic areas, exports from Uganda

New organic Statistics reports indicate growth in certified organic areas, exports from Uganda
Bazooba in his Chia seeds farm in Hoima Uganda

The new organic Statistics report from a survey conducted by Ugandan Organic champion is indicating a rise in the statistics on the certified organic areas, organic producers, organic production among other indicators covering a period from 2018 to 2021.

The CEO, the National Organic Agricultural Movement of Uganda (NOGAMU) said that with partners they have organised the Organic Agriculture Week 2022 from 29th November to 2nd December 2022 to disseminate the organic Statistics report which he said indicated a rise in organic production, certified organic land among others which he attributed to the increase in consumption and awareness.

“As a sector, there have been many changes, the report highlights changes in farmer process, and certified agricultural land and it shows a growth of organic land, total cultivation areas, exports. This is attributed to increased consumer awareness that has led to increased product” he said.

He said that NOGAMU, together with other stakeholder are holding the 1st Organic Agriculture Week 2022 which entail many events including; Field visits to selected organic agriculture practitioners; Dialogue on Strengthening Uganda’s Organic Trade Competitiveness through improved and certified organic inputs, Launching the NOGAMU 2023-2027 strategic plan; and Organic Agriculture Awards to recognizing organic actors for their excellent performance and contribution towards promoting the organic agriculture in Uganda.

Geoffrey Kajubi from Makerere university said that in order to bridge the gap in market information flow, they came up with an ICT-based solution dubbed “Kebera app” in both software and hardware to access information and research while testing organic products, and soil for organic quality.

The report indicates the exports also grew in the period with earnings ranging from $123 Million in 2018, $137 Million in 2019, $156 Million and $159 Million in 2021.

The Global demand for organic products according to NOGAMU is huge and continues to grow, creating enormous market opportunities for smallholder organic farmers and SME companies.

Bazooba a Chia Seeds Farmers says that he learnt about the Chia Seed crop through a friend in 2017 and started growing it in early 2018. He has made some good money from it and is looking forward to expanding his acreage.

But what does it take to grow chia seeds? Is it worth it?

Bazooba said that they are grown organically, thus no expenditure on pesticides, fungicides and fertilizers.

He says the crop has ready market in Uganda and abroad. A kilogram goes for a minimum of Shs4,000 and it can go up to Shs7,000.

According to his experience, an acre requires an investment of about Shs500, 000. On average, a farmer can harvest 400 kilograms per acre and taking Shs4000 as the minimum, one will earn Shs1.6m gross profit after four months. He recommends one to start with at least five acres in order to reap from benefits that accrue from economies of scale. This means that with an investment of Shs2.5m, one can earn a gross profit of Shs8m in a period of four months.

He says Chia seeds require well drained loamy fertile soils since the crop is grown organically. One can also add organic manure in the soil to boost production, he says.

He advises farmers to prepare fields earlier before planting. This includes removing anthills within and around the plantation since termites tend to bite Chia seeds after germination. He also says farmers should cut all the trees within and around the field. This helps in keeping away pests that may attack Chia seeds.

“The field should be weed free,” he emphasizes, adding that two kilograms are enough to plant an acre. A kilogram for planting purposes goes for Shs10,000. Planting is mainly by broadcasting method just like millet is planted. However, a farmer can also plant Chia seeds in rows.

Currently, the global organic market exceeds Euro 100 Billion (FiBl 2019). This rapid development has been partially attributed to a shift in consumer demand. Uganda is increasingly receiving recognition as a major player in the organic export market. The local market for organic products is also growing steadily according to the survey commissioned by NOGAMU organic statistics (2018-2021), conducted by Makerere University and the Centre for Ecosystems Research for Development (CERD).