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January 26, 2009

Uganda to zone organic cotton areas

The Ugandan government has agreed to zone organic cotton growing areas in different parts of the country in order to promote the growing of organic cotton which is on high demand in the US and other developed countries.

The Managing Director of the Cotton Development Authority, Jolly Sabune says the government will soon gazette areas suitable for organic cotton-growing depending on the suitability of the soils and resistance to pests and diseases. Unlike conventional cotton, organic cotton has to be grown without using fertilizers and pesticides.

Sabune says the move is aimed at enabling the country and farmers in particular to tap in more from the lucrative market for organic cotton. Saune said organic cotton fetches better prices on the market than traditional cotton, but it needs to be grown in suitable areas following strict methods.

Organic cotton is being utilized by Phoenix Logistics, Southern Range Nyanza and Bo Weevil locally for value addition in the making of textiles and for export to the US.

The Chief Executive Officer of the National Organic Agriculture Movement, Moses Muwanga says organic cotton like other organic products is being preferred by many countries and called upon people in areas that will be gazette for organic cotton growing to maximize this opportunity and grow more cotton to benefit from the good prices. He says Uganda has a competitive advantage to export organic products on the world market due to the good soils and climate.

According to last year’s global Organic Farm and Fiber Report, Uganda is the 7th leading producer of organic cotton in the world, and the leading organic cotton producer in Africa. Muwanga says Uganda should take advantage of the country’s good standing to grow and export more organic cotton in order to benefit from favourable prices for organic cotton.

Uganda Pulse

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