Factors Limiting Cotton Productivity in Uganda
Apr 16, 2019
Cotton is one of the major traditional export crops in Uganda. The crop is grown by smallholder farmers on 1 ha or less, with average yield of 388 kg/ha. Seed cotton yields, however, range between 200 kg/ha in the North-East to 1000 kg/ha in the West. At research institutes, yields of between 1500 kg and 2500 kg/ha are obtainable. The huge yield gap between the actual and the potential is attributed to a number of factors. Due to continuous cultivation in most parts of the country, soil fertility is on the decline and pest incidences, on the increase. Recommended agronomic practices such as optimum plant populations, timely sowing and fertilizer uses are not practiced by farmers. Socio-economic factors such as labour, capital, cotton farm size and profitability also influence cotton productivity. Now that seed cotton marketing is liberalized, farmers are eager to resume cotton growing. To narrow down the gap between the potential and farmers’ yields, concerted efforts are needed from all stakeholders. Soil fertility and pest problems should be tackled urgently. Farmers should be encouraged to use locally available materials like bio-fertilizers and botanicals. Farmers should, in addition, have access to credit. Cotton demand should be stimulated by sell of lint and seeds to local consumers such as textile mills, oil processors, soap and feed factories.