Country Listing

Uganda Table of Contents



In the 1950s, cotton was the second most important traditional cash crop in Uganda, contributing 25 percent of total agricultural exports. By the late 1970s, this figure had dropped to 3 percent, and government officials were pessimistic about reviving this industry in the near future. Farmers had turned to other crops in part because of the labor-intensive nature of cotton cultivation, inadequate crop-finance programs, and a generally poor marketing system. The industry began to recover in the 1980s. The government rehabilitated ginneries and increased producer prices. In 1985, 199,000 hectares were planted in cotton, and production had risen from 4,000 tons to 16,300 tons in five years. Cotton exports earned US$13.4 million in 1985. Earnings fell to US$5 million in 1986, representing about 4,400 tons of cotton. Production continued to decline after that, as violence plagued the major cotton-producing areas of the north, but showed some improvement in 1989.

Cotton provided the raw materials for several local industries, such as textile mills, oil and soap factories, and animal feed factories. And in the late 1980s, it provided another means of diversifying the economy. The government accordingly initiated an emergency cotton production program, which provided extension services, tractors, and other inputs for cotton farmers. At the same time, the government raised cotton prices from USh32 to USh80 for a kilogram of grade A cotton and from USh18 to USh42 for Grade B cotton in 1989. However, prospects for the cotton industry in the 1990s were still uncertain.

Data as of December 1990