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Organic livestock production in Uganda: potentials, challenges and prospects

Abstract

Development in organic farming has been stimulated by farmers and consumers becoming interested in healthy food products and sustainable environment. Organic agriculture is a holistic production management system which is based on the principles of health, ecology, care, and fairness. Organic development in Uganda has focused more on the crop sector than livestock sector and has primarily involved the private sector, like organic products export companies and non-governmental organizations. Agriculture in Uganda and many African countries is predominantly traditional, less mechanized, and is usually associated with minimum use of chemical fertilizers, pesticides, and drugs. This low external input agriculture also referred to as “organic by default” can create basis for organic farming where agroecological methods are introduced and present an alternative in terms of intensification to the current low-input/low-output systems. Traditional farming should not be confused with organic farming because in some cases, the existing traditional practices have consequences like overstocking and less attention to soil improvement as well as to animal health and welfare, which is contrary to organic principles of ecology, fairness, health, and care. Challenges of implementing sustainable organic practices in the Ugandan livestock sector threaten its future development, such as vectors and vector-borne diseases, organic feed insufficiency, limited education, research, and support to organic livestock production. The prospects of organic livestock development in Uganda can be enhanced with more scientific research in organic livestock production under local conditions and strengthening institutional support.

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Notes

  1. 1.

    IFOAM—International Federation of Organic Agriculture movements.

  2. 2.

    An organic inspector with the Organic Crop Improvement Association (OCIA), one of the largest certification agencies in the USA.

  3. 3.

    These are pastoralists who also do crop production. The harsh conditions in the pastoral areas require that the crops just like the animals are hardy and adaptable. Agro-pastoralism is seen in semiarid regions where rainfall is 250–1,000 mm, characterized by markedly seasonal conditions with a single short rainy season of 3–5 months and a long dry season, part of which is very hot.

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Correspondence to Sylvia Muwanga Nalubwama.

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Nalubwama, S.M., Mugisha, A. & Vaarst, M. Organic livestock production in Uganda: potentials, challenges and prospects. Trop Anim Health Prod 43, 749–757 (2011). https://doi.org/10.1007/s11250-011-9780-x

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Keywords

  • Organic agriculture
  • Organic livestock production
  • Uganda