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Cotton prices to remain stable

By Vision Reporter

Added 14th February 2010 03:00 AM

Cotton prices will be stabilised to attract more farmers to grow the crop, Henry Bagire, the agriculture minister, has disclosed.

Cotton prices will be stabilised to attract more farmers to grow the crop, Henry Bagire, the agriculture minister, has disclosed.

By Ibrahim Kasiita

Cotton prices will be stabilised to attract more farmers to grow the crop, Henry Bagire, the agriculture minister, has disclosed.

“Cotton is a strategic crop that will enhance your household income and ensure prosperity for all,” Bagire said.

“The good news is that the price at sh900 per kilogramme is good. It will also be maintained for the next season.”

The minister, who was on a monitoring and assessment tour of Kasese and Bushenyi districts, was responding to farmers’ request that the current prices be maintained for the next season. The next season starts in April.

Farmers were concerned with the price fluctuation, which is influenced by the international market forces. For the season 2007/08, cotton prices fell to sh450 per kilogramme due to the global economic crisis that resulted in a sharp drop in consumption of textiles products.

But Bagire explained that the price of sh900 was likely to be maintained because the US government was reducing subsidies to its farmers.

He added that China had re-allocated the land that used to produce cotton for food cultivation, while India’s cotton growing land had been flooded.

“Cotton prices have never gone below sh300. The crop is now fetching good money compared to other crops, which should encourage farmers to grow more cotton,” he said.

“Cotton yields high returns compared to other crops because on average, a cotton farmers can earn between sh700,000 and sh1.4m from an acre.”

The minister urged local leaders to mobilise people to grow cotton because “it is a foreign exchange earner, an employment provider and household income generating
activity.”

Bagire also advised farmers to grow food crops to ensure food security.

Jolly Sabune, the managing director of the Cotton Development Organisation (CDO), said the Government had provided farm inputs to revive cotton growing to empower the farmers financially.

This, she said, included free quality seeds that were delivered in time for planting. Pumps and pesticides prices were subsidised by 50% and offering good agronomical practices, she added.

James Mwesigye, the Kasese resident district commissioner, said people had abandoned cotton growing because of the low prices but “they have come back after prices shot up again.”

“We promise to encourage people to grow cotton because this is the only way we can attain the mission for prosperity for all.”

.“Cotton growing is a tool to eradicate poverty,” he added.

Statistics from the CDO western region office for Kasese, Bushenyi and Kamwenge indicate that production will be about 25,000 bales. The total earnings for the three districts will be sh12.27b.

Last year, national cotton production stood at 125,000 bales, from 60,000 the previous year.

On the global front, the International Cotton Advisory Committee has projected an increase in world cotton production in 2010-11 after three consecutive years of decline.

Growth in production is largely attributed to increase in crop cultivation encouraged by higher prices internationally.

World cotton production is estimated at 111 million bales compared to 102 million bales in 2009-10.

Growth in production is largely due to increase in crop cultivation.

Cotton prices to remain stable

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