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Govt worries over decline in cotton production
Jun '08
Cotton production in Uganda has dropped by over 50 percent which is really concerning since the domestic textile industry which consumes about 10 percent of the total produce is likely to get adversely impacted.

According to the estimation made by the experts, in the period 2007-08, only 65,000 tons of crops were harvested fetching a petty $30 million compared to $50 million procured in 2004-05. It is believed that this huge decline in cotton yield was brought about by the farmers who refused to employ scientific methods despite the readiness of the Government to lend support.

Prices of one kilogram of raw organic cotton in Uganda rose from about US $0.25 to nearly $0.5 exceeding the $0.4 mark suggested by the Government.

Hoarding of cotton seeds for oil processing rather than for future sowing has been another reason highlighted for reduced cotton production.

However, the Government has been holding meetings with all the stakeholders, concerned ministers and ginners in the industry to solve the existing crisis. One of the outcomes of these initiatives was that the private firms would provide 450 metric tons of seeds for distribution to the farmers. But this again would not solve the problem since the requirement stands at 1,000 metric tons of seed for northern Uganda alone.

Moreover, even with emergency accumulation of seeds for tiding over the crisis, the Government is not very sure about its quality. Uganda is following a similar down trend noticed in other cotton producing countries as well. World cotton production is projected to decline marginally in 2008-09 to 26 million tons.

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