Government probes collapse of cotton sub-sector

Monday April 15 2019

The cotton industry in Uganda has suffered

The cotton industry in Uganda has suffered decades of neglect thus leading to a near collapse of the sector. FILE PHOTO  

By Stephen Otage

Kampala. National Planning Authority (NPA) has said they are engaging different actors in the cotton value chain to understand what went wrong with the cotton industry.
The probe that seeks to form the basis of revamping cotton growing, comes at a time when the industry has nearly collapsed.
Speaking at a consultative meeting last week, Dr Asuman Guloba, the NPA director research and development performance, said they are seeking to revamp the cotton industry given its multiplier effect.
This, he said, will be one of the avenues that will assist Uganda to fast-track its industrialisation agenda, currently propelled by growth in infrastructure such as roads and electricity.

“We want to find out what went wrong, what can be done so that we can revamp the cotton industry. Uganda’s cotton is second to that of Egypt, which is the best in Africa but we are selling it as raw material,” he said, adding that if some value addition was made to cotton before export, Uganda would be getting a lot of foreign exchange.
Government, according to NPA, has already involved experts from Lethostho and Bolivia, who have previously worked in the cotton industry, to work out a strategic plan that will include search for market as well as streamlining the entire cotton value chain.

According to Diana Mulili, the director business development and innovations at Nsingi, a not for profit organisation based in Nairobi, they are working with governments in the region to create industries for future jobs to curtail unemployment in the region.
The organisation has been engaging different actors across the region to discuss what needs to be done to kick-start and revive sectors such as cotton industry to create jobs.

Near collapse

Mr William Ongenge, 90, who was the first and last secretary manager of Teso Cooperative Union, recently told Daily Monitor the colonial government, which established the cotton industry, had planned to have every parish in a district grow cotton as a way through which families could be uplifted as well as contribute taxes to support government activities.
However, this has nearly collapsed and cooperatives such as Lint Marketing Board, among others, have since collapsed.