Organic Agriculture

, Volume 9, Issue 1, pp 29–39 | Cite as

Opportunities and challenges for integrating dairy cattle into farms with certified organic pineapple production as perceived by smallholder farmers in Central Uganda

  • S. NalubwamaEmail author
  • F. Kabi
  • M. Vaarst
  • M. Kiggundu
  • G. Smolders


A study was conducted in 2013 to assess opportunities and challenges of integrating dairy cattle into organic pineapple production in Uganda. Thirty organic pineapple farmers were interviewed using a semi-structured questionnaire. The main dairy cattle management systems were tethering (73%) and zero grazing (27%). Average landholding was 1.74 ± 1.06 and 3.75 ± 2.70 ha for zero grazing and tethering systems, respectively. All farms were diversified with various livestock such as cattle, goats, sheep, pigs, and chickens and crops including pineapples, maize, coffee, bananas, beans, sweet potatoes, and cassava. The level of integration of dairy cattle into pineapple production depended on the distance of crop fields from the livestock enterprises. More farms (83%) with pineapple fields closer (< 0.5 km) to the homesteads were able to use cattle manure as fertilizer compared to homesteads (50%) with more distant fields (> 0.5 km). The distance to the homestead did not influence 30% of the farmers who used crop residues for feeding dairy cattle. Farmers perceived cattle diseases and feed scarcity to be the major challenges in dairy farming. The sources of risk on the farms were perceived to be erratic rainfall, limited knowledge, and market for organic products. Majority of farmers (77%) expressed willingness to convert to organic dairy production. Availability of markets for organic dairy products (36%) and reduction of external input use (26%) were the main reasons for farmers’ willingness to convert. Integrating dairy cattle with pineapple production is an opportunity for closed nutrient cycles and income diversification. However, knowledge, access to inputs, and organized markets are needed as incentive for conversion to organic dairy production.


Certified Conversion Crop-livestock integration Organic Perception Smallholder farms 


Funding information

The study received support from the Danish Agency for International Development (DANIDA) for sponsoring the research through the Productivity and Growth in Organic Value Chains (ProGrOV) project.

Compliance with ethical standards

Statement of animal rights

The manuscript does not contain clinical data studies or patient.

Conflict of interest

The authors confirm that they have no conflict of interest.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V., part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • S. Nalubwama
    • 1
    Email author
  • F. Kabi
    • 2
  • M. Vaarst
    • 3
  • M. Kiggundu
    • 2
  • G. Smolders
    • 4
  1. 1.Department of Livestock and Industrial ResourcesMakerere UniversityKampalaUganda
  2. 2.Department of Agricultural ProductionMakerere UniversityKampalaUganda
  3. 3.Department of Animal ScienceAarhus UniversityTjeleDenmark
  4. 4.OrgANIMproveLelystadthe Netherlands

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