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Uganda increases cotton cultivation for exports

Uganda’s cotton has found favor with textile importers in Germany, Denmark and other European countries. Despite the unpredictable weather conditions that keep affecting yields, cotton prices have been on rise in Uganda. Increase in prices and the introduction of fast-yielding cotton variety, which takes four months as opposed to about seven earlier, is encouraging farmers to grow cotton.

Uganda's Vision 2040 highlights the importance of manufacturing and value addition in enabling the development of an export-led and an internationally competitive economy, which is able to spur growth. Almost 90 per cent of Uganda’s cotton is exported. Cotton production in Uganda is entirely rain-fed. The soil is highly fertile and therefore no fertilisers are used. Pest management is reliant on predatory black ants which are highly effective against most of the cotton pests. Pesticides, if applied, do not exceed two sprays on an average.

Uganda is the only country in the world that grows one variety of cotton, the long-stapled Bukalasa Pedigree Albar. The focus on one type ensures uniformity and easier quality control measures in producing lint and yarn. Currently, cotton is cultivated in about 1, 00,000 hectares.

In Uganda clothing and apparel manufacturing is still minimal and large quantities of fabrics and garments are imported.