CIAT’s innovation helps Ugandan farmers go organic

25 October, 2010 by (comments)

A CIAT-pioneered research approach has been proven to develop business skills in smallholder farmers, helping them to build profitable agro-enterprises, according to a recent study.

The study, carried out in Uganda, aimed to move farmers from conventional to organic agricultural production, which is increasingly popular in Africa due to its success in reducing poverty through higher yields and access to niche markets. Researchers used the Enabling Rural Innovation (ERI) approach developed by CIAT and its partners to help develop farmer organization and entrepreneurial thinking. It encourages farmers to “produce what they can sell” rather than “sell what they produce”. The report found that the ERI framework helped in changing farmer’s attitudes towards how they selected and marketed their organic products, with participatory market research enabling farmers to become more organized and establish linkages with buyers.

”It’s exciting to see how the ERI approach helps farmers improve their livelihoods by developing community managed agro-enterprises, improving both food supply and income,” said Michael Hauser, one of the researchers involved in the study.

“But change does not happen from one day to the next. The ERI approach should therefore be seen as a highly valuable long-term development strategy at a household, group and association level.”

Click to read Learning achievements of farmers during transition to market-oriented organic agriculture in rural Uganda by Michael Hauser and Lisa Aigelsperger (University of Natural Resources and Applied Life Sciences), Amos Owamani (CIAT-TSBF) and Robert J. Delve (Catholic Relief Services), published in the Journal of Agriculture and Rural Development in the Tropics and Subtropics.

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Filed Under: Africa @en, Agro-ecology and Economics @en, Regions