BENEFITS OF ORGANIC FARMING
Organic farming presents a lot of benefits to farmers:
- Less input – less capital needed
- Premium prices which increases farmer’s income
- Less health risks for farmers and consumers
- Less damage to environment
- Can build on traditional knowledge
- Access to new (organic) markets
On newly acquired area, land preparation would involve clearing, uprooting of stumps and preparation of ground for planting.
The large mass of plant residues that is produced as a result of the land preparation could serve as a good mulching material and organic fertilizer for the soil.
Organic land preparation strictly adheres to standards. Burning is an unacceptable practice in organic land preparation.
In organic agriculture, three (3) main fertilizers are recognised and they include: 1. Composting 2. Manure (poultry, cow or sheep and goats) 3. Pruning waste and other mulching material Always remember that you are an organic farmer. Do not use any chemical inputs (fertilizers, insecticides, fungicides, herbicides/weedicides, etc). Only naturally grown (botanical) fertilizers/pesticides can be used, but announce to your internal control officer before you do so.
There are categories of sizes of planting materials for planting. Select the big sizes (500-550g) for early bearing (18months). You can obtain your planting material from your own farm, your neighbours or other organic certified farm.Always divide your field into four parts. Sub-divide each plot into four parts again for easy planting. Distances of 30 cm (using alternating planting holes) between the plants are sufficient in double-row systems, and 30 cm between the rows, with 75 cm between the double-rows. Let your production planning manual be your guide.
The fruits must be chopped down with a clean cut of a knife. If the fruits are torn off, the wounds will leave behind ideal spots where fungus can develop. The fruits should be harvested at the best time for export/processing; i.e. harvest when green-ripe or half ripe. Harvest into your crates to minimize bruising and ensure quality fruits for processing. During harvesting, ensure that your organic fruits are not mixed with any other fruits. Keep records of all your harvesting activities.
Question & Answer
Organic agriculture is not only characterised by the fact that:
- no pesticides is used
- no chemical fertilisers are used
Organic farming goes further than those attributes
Organic agriculture is defined as:
- farming in an ecologically and socially responsible way
- providing an enduring supply of safe and healthy food
- having the least possible nutrient and energy losses
- with the least possible negative environmental impacts
- respecting the integrity of plants, animals, and life sustaining soil
- regulated by certification/third party agencies
Organic farming adheres to these basic principles:
- Production of nutritional quality food
- Work in harmony with the natural ecosystem
- Promotion of biological cycles within the farming systems
- Preservation of long-term soil fertility
- Protection of environment
- Consideration of organic matter and nutrients
- Combating causes ( not symptoms) in crop protection measures
The nutrient requirements of the crop rotation system are mainly provided by green manure (green fallow land as a first pre-crop).
All of the remnants from the pineapples production should be spread over the soil (composting or mulching).
Make compost an essential part of your fertilization programme.
If possible, the compost should be spread in two separate lots – one half before planting, and the other half to induce the flower formation.
Or the entire compost can be spread in one go before planting
In organic agriculture, three (3) main fertilizers are recognised and they include:
- Manure (poultry, cow or sheep and goats)
- Pruning waste and other mulching material
Why to make and why to use compost?
- It boosts pineapple production
- It is a well balanced fertilizer
- It increases soil organic matter content
- It raises the pH in acid soils
- The heating phase destroys weed seeds and disease germs
- It suppresses soil-borne disease germs
- It is organic
- It is not costly to make
Flower formation is induced only by ethylene.
Special preparations used to induce flower formation in conventional pineapple production are not permitted on organic farms.
The use of carbide is also not permitted in organic agriculture.
Consult your organic partners on possible use of ethylene to induce flower formation.
After harvesting, clean the fruits and cut the stalks to 2cm.
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.
Always wash your hands before and after you handle pineapple produce.
Classify your fruits into the required sizes
- Above 1.5kg in one class
- 1-1.5kg in another class
- Below 1kg in another class
(This may vary according to the requirements of your buyer)
Always make sure that your harvested fruits are packed in the crates for ease of transportation and for quality assurance.
Personnel must not smoke, eat or drink while working with produce, whether in the field or in the collection shed.
Personnel must not work with produce, if suffering from infectious sickness (e.g. diarrhoea).