Cotton can boost Uganda economy says CDO boss


Mrs. Jolly Sabune, Managing Director, Cotton Development Organisation (CDO) in an interview regarding an over view of the cotton sector plan in regards to implementation of the National Development Plan ii (NDP ii) and the National Resistance Movement 2016 – 2021 Manifesto as well as the future plans for the sector, below is the interview.

  1. What in essence is Cotton Development Organisation?

Cotton Development Organisation (CDO) is a statutory agency under the Ministry of Agriculture, Animal Industry and Fisheries (MAAIF) with mandate to promote production, monitor marketing and processing of cotton and represent all aspects of the Cotton Sub-sector. CDO’s head office is located at Cotton House, Plot 15 Clement Hill Road, Nakasero.

  • Talk about CDO’s highlights of its contribution to the successes in the implementation of the NDP II and NRM 2016 – 2021 Manifesto.

Cotton was one of the strategic commodities under the Agriculture Sector in NDP II. The NRM 2016-2021 Manifesto also looked at ‘Promoting cotton growing to sustain the country’s textile industries and for export of yarn’.

In order to implement the commitments under these two frameworks, CDO identified 5 strategic interventions which focused on generating improved production technologies, increasing production and productivity, increasing incomes and improving livelihoods of stakeholders, creating employment opportunities and increasing returns from cotton.

CDO Managing Director Jolly Sabune in an interview recently

Highlights of key achievements:

  1. Two new cotton varieties; BPA 2015A and BPA 2015Bwere released by NARO in collaboration with CDO.
  2. A Bio-pesticide laboratory was established with support from the India/Africa Cotton Technical Assistance Program (TAP) at the National Semi-Arid Resources Research Institute (NaSARRI) in Serere for formulation, testing and preparation of Bio-pesticides and Bio-fertilizers. The lab also runs activities on soil testing to facilitate recommendation of appropriate fertilizers.
  3. Cotton production increased from 110,707 bales of lint in 2015/16 to 202,357 bales in 2017/18 but dropped to 173,457 bales in 2019/20 largely due to climate change and fluctuations in farm-gate prices. Farmers’ incomes rose from Sh. 88 billion in 2015/16 to Sh. 181 billion in 2018/19 while foreign exchange earnings increased from US$ 26 million in 2015/16 to US$ 58 million in 2018/19.
  4. The quality of cotton improved as a result of intensive sensitization and training of farmers and Ginners on post-harvest handling on cotton. The proportion of total bales classed against International Standards in the top 3 grades increased from 71% in 2015/16 to 79% in 2019/20.
  5. Using the Revolving Lint Buffer Stock Fund (an incentive provided by Government since 2015), CDO has so far procured a total of 33,752 bales of lint for the two textile manufacturers; Fine Spinner (U) Ltd and Southern Range Nyanza (NYTIL).This resulted in increase in domestic consumption of lint from 5% in 2015/16 to the highest of 10% in 2017/18 thus contributing to import substitution.
  6. CDO constructed a new and modern cotton planting seed processing plant in Pajule, Pader District in Northern Uganda. The Plant, which employs over 100 people, has a total seed processing capacity of 2,500 Mt of graded and packaged cottonseed in 4 months and provides about 70% of the total national cotton planting seed requirement.
  • Share the challenges of implementation of NDP II and NRM 2016-2021 Manifesto.

Major challenges were:

  1. Inadequate funding for the Cotton Sub-sector.
  2. Climate change characterized by erratic weather patterns which affect timely adoption of recommended production practices thus affecting production.
  3. Fluctuating farm-gate prices affect farmers’ morale to implement recommended production practices.
  4. Low level of domestic value addition to lint which negatively impacts the farm-gate prices because Uganda continues to export over 90% of the cotton produced and therefore is a price taker.
  5. Effects of COVID-19 lockdown and restrictions have negatively affected demand for cotton locally and internationally
CDO staff at the laboratory
  • Highlight some of the future plans of the cotton industry and how can the Government make it better?

Over the next 5 years, the Government will focus on implementation of NDPIII (2020/21 – 2024/25) with 18 Programs. Cotton is under the Agro-industrialization Program. CDO will undertake the following:

  1. Support timely development of new cotton varieties and production technologies that meet stakeholder demand in terms of yield potential, disease and pest tolerance, drought and flood tolerant, high Ginning Outturn (GOT), good lint fibre parameters and high spinnability.
  2. Provision of cotton production support services (planting seed, fertilizers, pesticides, herbicides, spray pumps and extension services) to cotton farmers.
  3. Strengthening proper post-harvest handling and quality management.
  4. Support domestic value addition to lint and cottonseed.
  5. Strengthening institutional capacity of CDO to improve service delivery.

In order to promote increased domestic value addition, cotton stakeholders have recommended to Government the following interventions:

  • Accelerate implementation of the ‘Buy Uganda Build Uganda (BUBU)’ Policy in public procurement for school uniforms, medical apparels and uniforms and uniformed forces in order to achieve import substitution.
  • Create a Textile Industry Fund (TIF) to avail funding at subsidized rates on long term repayment period to enable existing textile mills to expand their production capacities.
  • Avail low interest loans to facilitate technology up-gradation especially for cottonseed processing.
  • Build domestic capacity for skills and technologies that are necessary for production of quality products that meet customer demands. Technical, managerial, product development, designing skills are essential for coping with changing trends and styles.
  • Share any other information you would like the public to know.

There has been significant progress in domestic value addition to lint and cottonseed:

  • Two vertically integrated textile mills in Uganda which employ 3,470 people and produce woven and knitted fabrics and garments, cotton sewing thread, etc.
  • Cottonseed Oil Processors have increased to 13, employ about 820 people and produce edible oil, cotton seed cake for animal feeds, cotton husks and soap stock.
  • Eight (8) cotton wool manufacturers produce absorbent cotton wool and employ about 400 people.
  • The Textile Development Agency (TEXDA) trains mainly women and youth in handloom weaving and they produce scarves, garments, table mats, etc for the local and export markets.


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