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Perception of quality in certified organic pineapples by farmers in Kayunga district, Central Uganda: Implications for food security
In East Africa, Uganda is one of the major producers of organic pineapples for export. These pineapples are mainly produced in central Uganda and have to meet stringent quality standards before they can be allowed on international markets. These quality standards may put considerable strain on farmers and may not be wholly representative of their quality interpretation. The aim of this paper is therefore, to determine the Ugandan organic pineapple farmers’ quality perception, the activities they carry out in order to attain that quality and challenges (production, postharvest & marketing) faced on the same. Qualitative semi-structured interviews were carried out among 28 organic pineapple farmers in Kayunga district, central Uganda. Findings suggest that quality of organic pineapples is mainly perceived in terms of product attributes particularly appearance followed by food security provision. Certification plays a minor role in what farmers describe as organic quality. High production input costs (labour and coffee husks) coupled with a stagnant premium are some of the major challenges faced by farmers in attaining organic quality. The paper argues that currently there are concealed negative food security effects embroiled in these pineapple schemes. It is recommended that the National Organic Agricultural Movement of Uganda (NOGAMU) works with all relevant stakeholders to have the farmer premium price raised and an official organic policy enacted.