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.