Potential for Use of Pineapple Waste to Enhance Soil Fertility on Smallholder Organic Farming in Kayunga District, Uganda
Keywords:Pineapple Waste, Nutrient Depletion, vermicompost, manure
Soil exhaustion and nutrient depletion are major constraints to pineapple farming in Uganda. This study explored potential for using on-farm waste from pineapple farming to conserve soil fertility and enhance agricultural productivity. Data collection was done using key informant interviews, focus group discussions, and a semi structured survey questionnaire administered to 109 randomly selected pineapple farmers and processors. The data was analysed in SPSS to generate descriptive statistics for selected variables followed by cross tabulation to explore linkages between the variables. Results indicate that farmers engaged in pineapple farming, have diverse socioeconomic backgrounds but activities engaged in are not significantly associated with socioeconomic variables examined except farming experience and gender. The major challenges faced by the farmers included soil exhaustion, lack of appropriate technologies, inappropriate pineapple waste management and decline in yield. It was noted that strategies used by farmers employing use of on-farm waste have not yielded significant contribution and as such farmers resort to use of off-farm manure which is expensive and increasingly hard to secure. It was recommended that a sustainable technology harnessing the abundant but underutilised on-farm biomass waste be developed to produce a highly nutrient-rich soil conditioner to enhance pineapple yield and as such empower the farmers.