Organic Apple Growing Not Popular in Sweden

Apple Scab

Apple Scab

The Swedish government set a goal of having 20% of the total crop area grown organically by 2010. Organic fruit acreage did not make the goal and is still less than 5%. Growers fear low yields and poor quality by not using chemical pesticides in organic systems. Apple production would decline significantly in Sweden if the majority of growers gave up the use of pesticides and used organic methods. A major problem for apple growers in Sweden is apple scab.

 “There is a large demand for domestically grown apples in Sweden. However, approximately 85% of the apples consumed in Sweden are imported, and the percentage of imported organic apples is even higher. Organic fruit is produced on 4% of the orchard area.

The estimated cost price of producing organic apples in a 5 ha orchard is €1.14 per kg, which is twice as high as for conventionally produced apples, mainly due to lower yields in organic production. Modern apple orchards have average yields of 40 ton/ha in conventional production and around 20 ton/ha in organic production.

The high cost price of organic apples was mainly due to lower yields in organic production, but also higher costs for weed control. Although it is possible to generate similar economic returns from organic production, few conventional growers in Sweden are converting to organic production. Another obstacle is that growers fear low yields and poor quality in organic production due to pests, diseases and weeds.”

Authors: Ascard, J., et al.
Affiliation: Swedish Board of Agriculture.
Title: Cost price calculations for organically and conventionally grown apples in Sweden.
Source: Ecofruit Proceedings. 2010.

Organic Cotton Discontinued in Uganda – Due to Damage to the National Economy!

Cotton is considered one of the most strategic commodities in Uganda for increasing household income, creation of employment, industrialization and poverty alleviation. In 1995 the Swedish International Development Agency began promoting organic methods of growing cotton in Uganda. The area under organic management expanded rapidly. Farmers were attracted to organic cotton because the promoters promised a premium price. Then, the reality of trying to grow cotton without chemical pesticides sunk in, shown below in remarks from a presentation by Jolly Sabune, Managing Director of the Cotton Development Organization.

  • During 2007/8, the en-mass introduction of organic caused over 68% drop in yields in the organic areas.
  • National cotton production also dropped by 50% from 134,000 bales in 2006/7 to 66,500 bales in 2007/8.
  • Organic promoters were sabotaging government efforts of increasing cotton yields by de-campaigning use of the effective conventional pesticides.
  • Following the sharp decline in production due to en-mass introduction of organic cotton, the government of Uganda decided that organic cotton promoted in the manner seen during 2007/8 was entrenching poverty rather than alleviating it and would therefore not be accepted.
  • Anyone who wants to support small-scale farmers in cotton must therefore promote conventional cotton production.

Author: Jolly Sabune
Affiliation: Cotton Development Organization
Title: Organic Cotton Production: Uganda’s Experience. Available at: http://www.icac.org/meetings/plenary/70_buenos_aires/documents/os3/os3_sabune.pdf