BY SAMUEL NABWIISO
KAMPALA, Uganda—A new report from the Ministry of Agriculture Animal Industry and Fisheries has indicated that the production of cotton in Uganda has gone up due to government interventions like supporting farmers with planting materials.
The information reveals that over the last two years, cotton production has increased from 151,071 bales of lint in 2016/17 to 201,841 bales in 2017/18 which has led to increase of the sector’s earnings.
The Minister of Agriculture Animal Industries and Fisheries, Vincent Bamulangaki Ssempijja said the earning from the sector is promising especially in the financial year of 2017/2018.
“As a result of the improved production of cotton in the country, its contribution to household incomes has risen from about UShs136 billion in 2016/17 to UShS 187 billion in 2017/18. Lint exports have also increased from about $ 39 million in 2016/17 to $ 49 million in 2017/18,” Ssempijja said.
According to the Minister, government in the financial year 2017/2018 supplied a total of 2,647 Mt of cotton seeds , 1,230,700 one-acre units of pesticides, 5,156 litters of herbicides, 481Mt of fertilizers and 3,040 spray pumps to about 200,000 households as support to cotton farmers across the country with the aim of improving production.
The Minister advised cotton farmers to increase on acreage of cotton saying that there’s market for their product since government has established a special fund to support cotton ginners to buy locally produced cotton from the farmers.
Recently Uganda was selected by the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD) to participate in cotton value addition project worth millions of shillings under the UN Development account, to improve the value added to cotton by-products in four countries, that is–Uganda, Tanzania, Zambia and Zimbabwe.
In the financial year 2014/2015 Government established the Lint Buffer Stock Fund in 2014/15 to avail raw materials (lint) to local cotton textile manufacturers to support domestic value addition. The Fund procured a total of 3,000 bales in 2016/17 and 11,500 bales in 2017/18 which were supplied to Southern Range Nyanza Ltd and Fine Spinners (U) Ltd.
The demand for cotton in the country is expected to rise following launching of policies such as Buy Uganda Build Uganda; whose major objective is to promote local content. Under the garments, Uganda has huge markets for garments especially in the Education sector, security among other sector that procure volumes of uniforms for their staffs.