The Cotton Development Organisation monitors the production, processing, and marketing of cotton in Uganda. The organisation promotes the distribution of high quality cotton seed and generally facilitates the development of the cotton industry.
Established in 1994 by an Act of Parliament, it has the responsibility to monitor the production, processing, and marketing of cotton so as to enhance the quality of lint exported and locally sold, to promote the distribution of high quality cotton seed and generally to facilitate the development of the cotton industry.
Cotton is Uganda’s third largest export crop after coffee and tea. It is the main source of income for some 250,000 households, who cultivate cotton under rain-fed conditions and with minimal use of inputs,such as fertilisers and chemicals. Since the climate and the soil are very suitable for cotton cultivation, it is a very popular commodity among smallholders with an average farm size of 0.5 hectares.
Overview of Cotton industry in Uganda
The national average yields of seed cotton have increased from 625 kg/ha in 1994 to 1250 kg/ha in 2010, while on the rich volcanic foothills of Mt. Rwenzori, yields of 3,750 kg/ha have also been achieved.
Serious efforts are being devoted towards increasing yields, with gradual introduction of modern farming techniques and within south-south cooperation mechanisms. Favourable conditions for growing cotton, coupled with the effective reforms undertaken since 1994, including the appropriate institution building, have laid a strong foundation on which the cotton subsector can build.
Presently, with 40 ginneries, Uganda has a total installed seasonal ginning capacity of around one million bales of lint production (200,000 tons), which is well above the maximum production achieved in the last two decades. Because the textile industry in Uganda has lost a lot of ground to the competition coming from the Far East and to second hand clothing, only around 5 % of the total cotton production is consumed by two local textile factories. Besides textiles production, there is one factory producing cotton wool. In Uganda there are also 12 privatelyâ€owned cottonseed crushing and oil extraction facilities, located in various parts of the country. Cottonseed is processed into edible oil, cotton seed cake and soap.