General

UGANDA’S COTTON SUB-SECTOR AT A GLANCE

INTRODUCTION:

Cotton was introduced in Uganda in 1903 as the first cash crop and raw material for textiles and other by-products.

Ugandan cotton belongs to the Gossypium hirsutum species whose origins trace back to the American Upland varieties; ‘Allen’ and ‘Sunflower’. These two varieties underwent selection and breeding to produce Uganda’s Bukalasa Pedigree Albar (BPA). The BPA variety is fairly drought tolerant, the fibre is white and of medium to long staple length.

Cotton marketing and processing were liberalized in 1994. Subsequently Cotton Development Organisation (CDO) was established as a Government body to promote cotton production, monitor production, processing and marketing, regulate the Cotton Subsector and represent all aspects of the Cotton Industry in Uganda.

IMPORTANCE OF COTTON:

  • Cotton is grown as a cash crop and is a major source of revenue for both rural households and the National economy.

  • It provides employment at farm level, ginnery level, textile and garment manufacture and edible oil milling.

  • It is normally grown as a land opening crop and its foliage adds nutrients to the soil.

  • Cotton is a raw material used in the production of textiles, edible oil, soap, seed cake for livestock feeds, Linters for cotton swabs, paper, plastic & films manufacture and pharmaceutical products. Cotton stalks can be utilised as wood fuel and are used in the manufacture of ceiling boards and paper.

PRODUCTION ENVIRONMENT:

  • Cotton is grown at an altitude of below 1,500 above sea level mainly by small-scale farmers with an average holding of one acre.

  • It is entirely grown under rain-fed conditions in two thirds of Uganda.

  • Cotton performs best in sandy loam or volcanic soils which are free from water logging.

MAJOR ACHIEVEMENTS OF THE SUB-SECTOR:

  • Construction of Cotton House; the home of CDO.

  • On spot cash payments to farmers for their crop under liberalized marketing.

  • Privatization of ginneries and increase in ginning capacity.

  • Purification of planting seed and reduction in seed rate due to delinting (removal of fuzz) and grading of seed.

  • Development of improved agronomic and technological packages and their dissemination using demonstration plots.

  • Improvements in lint quality and refurbishment of the Classing laboratory.

  • Formation of associations among Sub-sector stakeholders e.g. Uganda Ginners & Cotton Exporters’ Association (UGCEA) and Uganda Cottonseed Processors’ Association (UCOPA).

  • Developed a Public Private Partnership between CDO and UGCEA for supporting cotton production.

  • Promotion of appropriate technology – 2,950 ox ploughshave been procured and distributed to cotton farmers.

CHALLENGES FACED BY THE SUB-SECTOR:

  1. Production challenges -
  • Climate change and over dependence on rain fed production.

  • Declining soil fertility.

  • High cost of production inputs.

  1. Institutional problems -

  • Lack of strong and stable farmers’ groups.

  1. Processing and Marketing Problems -

  • Price fluctuations which demoralize farmers.

  • Contamination of lint (especially by polypropylene used by farmers for packing seed cotton).

  1. Financing and Institutional competitiveness -

  • Inadequate resources for cotton research and technology development.

  • High cost of local borrowing by ginners and high cost of utilities which negatively impact on farm-gate prices.

  1. Value addition Problems -

  • Low level of domestic value addition to lint.

  • Limited exploitation of other cotton by-products.

  • Lack of skilled labour and technologies especially for spinning & textiles.

 Table 1. Production trends and earnings

PERIOD/ SEASON

COTTON LINT PRODUCTION (Bales @ 185 Kg)

EARNINGS FROM LINT

EARNINGS BY FARMERS

SALE OF SEEDS BY GINNERS

Ave. FOB price
($/Kg of lint)

Value
($ million)

Ave. Farmgate price
(Sh./Kg of seed cotton)

Value
(Sh. Billion)

Total quantity

of seed produced (MT)

Ave. price per MT
(Shs)

Total value of seed
(Shs. Bn)

1

2

3

4

5

6

7

8

9

1994/95 33,000

2.10

12.82

400

7.39

12,000

100,000

1.20

1995/96 56,416

1.98

20.67

350

11.06

20,900

100,000

2.09

1996/97 110,700

1.86

38.09

320

19.84

40,900

100,000

4.09

1997/98 32,000

1.79

10.60

390

6.99

11,800

120,000

1.42

1998/99 82,000

1.68

25.49

400

18.37

30,300

130,000

3.94

1999/00 117,000

1.34

29.00

300

19.66

43,300

150,000

6.50

2000/01 100,000

1.50

27.75

420

23.52

34,700

150,000

5.21

2001/02 120,000

0.80

17.76

270

18.14

40,260

130,000

5.23

2002/03 110,000

1.20

24.42

500

30.80

38,460

170,000

6.54

2003/04 158,000

1.50

43.85

650

54.12

55,950

200,000

11.19

2004/05 254,000

0.80

37.59

350

45.78

91,030

110,000

10.01

2005/06 102,600

1.10

20.88

450

24.70

35,400

150,000

5.31

2006/07 134,000

1.10

27.27

470

32.50

46,500

180,000

8.37

2007/08 66,500

1.60

19.68

750

25.74

17,350

340,000

5.90

2008/09 125,310

1.06

24.57

650

48.49

42,731

350,000

14.96

2009/10 70,300

1.59

20.68

900

27.94

23,972

400,000

9.59

2010/11 146,894

3.75

101.91

2,300

179.06

50,091

700,000

35.06

2011/12 254,036

1.02

47.94

1,100

148.10

86,626

500,000

43.31

2012/13 102,619

1.59

30.19

1,100

59.83

34,993

450,000

15.75

TOTALS 2,175,377 581.15

802.04

57,263

195.66

Table 2. Uganda’s official cotton standards

Ugandan Grade Standard Major Characteristics International Equivalent

Length

(mm)

Strength (g/tex)

Micronaire

Roller Ginned lint
UCON

29

30 – 33 3.7 – 4.3 Good Middling
UCOB

28 – 29

30 – 33 3.7 – 4.3 Strict Middling
UCOP

28 – 29

28 – 32 4.0 – 4.2 Middling
UCOA

26 – 27

28 – 30 4.0 – 4.2 Strict Low Middling
UCOM

26

27 – 30 4.2 – 4.4 Low Middling
Saw Ginned lint
UCOSA I

27

28- 30 4.0 – 4.2 Strict Middling
UCOSA II

27

27 – 30 4.0 – 4.2 Middling

FUTURE PLANS OF THE SUB-SECTOR:

  • Organizing farmers to form groups to access inputs easily and cheaply as well as access better marketing opportunities.

  • Promoting medium and large-scale cotton production.

  • Mechanizing land opening through use of tractors and animal traction.

  • Providing high quality planting seed to cotton farmers.

  • Supplying cotton farmers with high quality production inputs (pesticides, spray pumps and fertilizers).

  • Increasing production per unit area (productivity).

  • Increasing quantity and quality of cotton produced.

  • Advocating for increased domestic value addition to lint, cottonseed and other cotton by-products.

cotton