Organic farming in Uganda: can pineapples lead to prosperity?
I admit that I know very little about Uganda: Idi Amin (gathered largely from THE LAST KING OF SCOTLAND) and news reports of the bizarre “Kill the Gays” bill pretty much sums it up. I learned a bit in January about efforts to protect their coffee crop from the effects of climate change, but still wouldn’t want take a test on the country. So perhaps my pleasant surprise at news of a growing organic agricultural movement in the country is just a sign of my ignorance, but it strikes me as a really positive development in a nation that has been torn by by political and social unrest for decades.
Uganda has its own organic certification program, and a trade group working to develop relationships with international markets. Organic production has grown enough to catch the eye of the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development as well as the United Nations Environment Programme, which collaborated on the short video above. Perhaps most importantly, though, organic farming seems to be providing some economic opportunities for farmers who’d previously gotten by on subsistence agriculture.
While the idea of growing organic pineapples for sale in Germany did have me thinking “Jeez, will these poor people never be able to get away from sending their resources to the West?” there’s apparently a growing demand for organics within the country itself, and farmers are working to supply it. I can’t say how rigorous the certification process is (I know it isn’t in some other developing countries), but if there’s some international oversight there may be hope for growth in green economic activity in the country. Signs of stability, perhaps?
Can organic farming change the course of a country? I don’t know, but if it’s empowering a few individuals, families or communities in Uganda, and perhaps protecting land from more exploitative practices, it’s a promising development. If you know more about Uganda than I do (and that wouldn’t be hard), or its citizens’ efforts to green its economy, do share.
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