Since November 2016, Duterimbere ONG is part of implementing partners of “Strengthening the Competitiveness of Women Organic Pineapple Growers in rural areas of Rwanda” project funded by Oxfam Rwanda in Kirehe and Nyagatare Districts in four Sectors (Gahara, Gatore of Kirehe; Mukama and Karama of Nyagatare).
To support the country’s vision of transforming the agriculture sector into a profitable industry that benefits poor communities by sustainably increasing the income of 600 smallholder women farmers and influencing key stakeholders to adopt positive policies and practices.
- Increase the volume and quality of pineapples produced by 600 smallholder women farmers through the adoption of organic farming.
- Improve access to high-value pineapple markets for 600 smallholder women farmers.
- Enable 600 smallholder women, farmers, to be more active in cooperative management and leadership, increasing their participation in communities and enhancing gender equality.
- Influence systems at national and local levels to promote transformational programming and ensure long-term wider impact.
The project is working with individual pineapple farmers, groups of framers, cooperatives and processing plants who have a local and international market.
Those are Tuzamurane cooperative in Kirehe District, Sahara sector and Natural Fruit Drier Company in Nyagatare District, Musheri Sector.
1. WHAT IS ORGANIC FARMING?
In general, many people think “organic farming” is an agricultural system that uses products of herbal or animal origin i.e. herbal fertilizers and herbal products.
Another definition of “organic farming” is agriculture that follows the principles and logic of a living organism, in which all elements (soil, plant, farm animals, insects, the farmer, and local conditions) are closely linked to each other.
International organic agriculture principles fix fundamental organic farming but do not determine how those principles will be implemented. Thus, farmers themselves fix the practical principles to implement the basic international organic farming based on soil types and what they do on such soils
2. THE IMPORTANCE OF ORGANIC AGRICULTURE/FARMING
- Improve and maintain the natural landscape and agro-ecosystem;
- Help improve and recycle soil humus;
- Maintain and increase the long-term fertility of the soil;
- Maintain soil structures;
- Maintain ecosystems;
- Protect plant farm ecosystems;
- Enhance biological cycles within the farm, especially Nutrient cycles.
3. ORGANIC FERTILIZATION
In organic farming, there are three trusted sources of fertilizers:
- Animal manure (from cattle, poultry, goats, ships, pigs, etc.)
- Crop residues or mulching.
4. PEST AND DISEASE IDENTIFICATION & CONTROL
In order to produce quality crops, it is essential to control various pests and diseases. Organic farming emphasizes providing crops the necessary ingredients which help them to have stronger health before fighting diseases. “prevention is better than cure.”
N.B: Always remember that you are an organic farmer:
Do not use any chemical inputs.
5. HARVESTING OF PINEAPPLE
- The fruits should be harvested green-ripe or half-ripe depending on the appropriate market time.
- Harvest into your crates (wooden or plastic) to minimize bruising and ensure quality fruits for processing.
- During harvesting, ensure that your organic fruits are not mixed with any other fruits.
6. POST-HARVEST HANDLING
- After harvesting, clean the fruits and cut the stalks to 2 cm.
- Sort out the fruits to make sure that only half-ripe or green-ripe fruits, which are free from damage and pest and disease, are presented for sale.
- When handling pineapple, avoid scratching or touching the ear, nose, mouth or other body orifices of pineapples.
- Personnel must not smoke, eat or drink while working with produce, whether in the field or in the collection shed.
- No Personnel must work with produce if suffering from infectious sickness. Always make sure that your harvested pineapples are packed in the crates (wooden or plastic) for ease of transportation and for quality assurance.
7. QUALITY ASSURANCE
Basic principles to consider daily:
- Your farming practices and management decisions influence the organic supply chain.
- Collaborate with your Internal Control System (ICS) staff and inform them of your activities and plans (planting, farm sanitation, and management, post-harvest handling, etc.)
This will help us to complete good records, and hence we will be assisting in maintaining your organic certification.
You have a role to play:
- Supply only organic fruits
- Do not mix organic and conventional fruits
- Document all your activities
- Cooperate with your ICS staff who manages your organic certificate
Organic farming once is done properly, facilitates farmers to access the International market. But this requires an organic certificate which is basically costly compared to the smallholder farmer’s capacity. We, therefore, call upon everyone engaged in agriculture to support farmers to plan for the support of farmers in getting those certificates. There will contribute to country development and household in particular.