SNV in partnership with the MSP stakeholders today 29.09.11 conducted their eighth Multi stakeholder’s platform meeting (at Gardens restaurant in Fort Portal) under the theme “partnerships in enhancing the pineapple value chain in the Rwenzori region”.
The purpose of the meeting was to bring key stakeholders in the pineapple value chain together to share ideas on how partnerships can be utilized to enhance pineapple production, processing and marketing in the Rwenzori region.
Participants included staff from NARO, FAO, RIC-NET, SNV, District NAADs Officials, and pineapple growing farmers from the Rwenzori region.
During the meeting participants shared what they have been doing since the last MSP meeting in April 2010. Sharing their experiences, a representative from Kyenjojo District revealed that 16 coaches from 16 sub counties had been trained on how to manage the pineapple wilt disease that was raised by the farmers in the previous MSP meeting as a major challenge. These coaches are expected to go down and train their fellow farmers about the same. A stakeholders’ platform for pineapple farmers had also been held.
In Kamwenge District the farmers in Kahunge had chosen to first establish the number of pineapple farmers and the number of suckers they had in total; 20 farmers and 4012 suckers were established to be in place, while in Nyabbani Sub county farmers had been organized to start bulk marketing and had already established pineapple collection centers.
Reporting for Kasese Yofesi Kitholu regretted to note that they had not yet held a District stakeholders meeting but that they were planning to do so soon whereas in Ntoroko pineapple farmers had held a meeting to share on how they can be successful pineapple farmers because the biggest challenge is that farmers are still farming in isolation.
The meeting learnt that Kabarole did not have many pineapple farmers although it had 5 processors producing wine, juice and jam.
A staff from NARO indicated that a national stakeholders meeting had been held on 05.09.11 in Kampala, during which meeting the MSP objectives had been redefined and a road map on how and where the platform should proceed was drafted.
In his presentation about cross boarder experience/interventions in pineapple growing, Kiiza Daniel from FAO among others revealed that they are piloting marketing of solar dried pineapples because they have value addition; a longer shelf life, approximately 2 years without getting spoilt, less transportation costs, and they fetch a relatively higher price on the market (a kilogram ranges from 7000 to 10000 shillings). This is already being done in Kasese, Kampala, Kayunga and Tororo Districts.
In addition to this an Official from the Kasese NAADs office shared that the NAADs office in partnership with the national NAADs Secretariat are planning to set up a regional information center for marketing in Kasese. The Center that is going to be fully stocked with Computers installed to the internet is going to be hosted by Abasaija Kweyamba Cooperative Society and is expected to serve all the farmers in the Rwenzori region. Similarly Mubuku irrigation scheme is also going to be supplied with similar facilities and charged with a responsibility of disseminating market prices to the farmers in the region.
Besides experience sharing the participants were also refreshed on how to manage on control the spread of pineapple pests and diseases like Wilting, mealybugs and nematodes among others. Participants learnt that wilting is mainly caused by poor drainage. The facilitator also noted that weeds and shade are detrimental to pineapples. He advised the farmers to always treat suckers with chloropyritos or locally made pesticides mixed form ash, urine and tobacco before planting them as a remedy for mealybugs, nematodes and wilting.
Other issues discussed included the use of coaches (trained farmers in the community expected to train and motivate others) as an ideal model to help farmers access knowledge and skills that can improve their farming.
The meeting helped in pointing out the different activities that partners were doing in the areas of production; Increase sucker multiplier sites, and quality production, marketing; quality plus quality assurance, record keeping-production, group marketing- collection centers, and value addition; piloting pineapple drying, improving on quality and hygiene.