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Production of worlds quality cotton declining in Uganda align='left' /> In April, the Economic Policy Research Centre (EPRC), Uganda’s leading economic research body, published research findings titled, “Developing Cotton by-products in Uganda,” which showed Uganda’s ginneries are operating at merely 10 percent of their optimal capacity. The findings further say that the downward spiral in Uganda’s cotton sector is primarily due to the high cost of producing cotton amid competing options. According to the same EPRC study, 40 percent of the revenue gained from cotton goes toward production costs, compared to 11-24 percent for crops like cassava, groundnuts, rice, sesame and sugarcane. Uganda’s Cotton Development Organization, a statutory body with a mandate to oversee the country’s cotton subsector, attributes high production costs to several factors and key among them are inadequate funding for research and technology development to respond to emerging production constraints; the high cost of imported inputs like pesticides and fertilizers; and competition for land and labour from other sectors, which has led to consistent fluctuations in production as farmers opt for other enterprises with lower production costs. The 2008, National Textile Policy was adopted which recognises that farm gate prices continue to diminish “due to limited competition for the lint owing to minimal local value addition.” Since then, however, the textile sector has faced more headwinds than anticipated. In Jinja, the former industrial capital of Uganda is Southern Range Nyanza (Nytil). The textile factory and Mbale textile industry – once a beacons of production in Uganda – are a shadow of their former selves with over grown grass dominating the factory premises, including the roof. What used to be a bicycle and car park for workers and shoppers is now almost like a grazing ground. Cows are seen making an occasional presence this area. Inside the factory premises, the building structures have peeling paint and cracked cement floors. It is a symbol of what has become of Uganda’s textile sector.

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