Cotton is one of the leading cash-crops in Uganda. It provides raw materials for several local industries, such as oil and soap factories, textile industries and animal feed factories.
Unfortunately, cotton production has dwindled in recent years, due to the declining returns that farmers derive
from its cultivation.
According to Jolly Sabune the executive director Cotton Development Authority, cotton farmers have failed to extensively exploit the crop.
Uganda produces over 200,000 bales of lint annually but has ignored the bi-products which include cotton seed used to produce edible oil, cotton cake used to produce animal feeds, husks for fuel and mushroom growing.
However, because of limited processing capacity in Uganda largely part of cotton seed is wasted and the bulk of the stalk is burnt off in the fields after the harvest of the cotton crop.
“A lot of things can be made out of the bi- products but farmers don’t know and most of them don’t even require heavy machinery,” Sabune said.
According to Prof Charles Kwesiga the executive director UIRI making full use of cotton bi-products can bring economic benefits and additional income to small cotton producers, and it can also help reduce the adverse
“Farmers have continued to put to waste the cotton bi- products they same way they do to the banana plant. they only focus on the banana forgetting that even the fibres can be put to use,” Kwesiga said.
With the aim of building the capacity of farmers and to help them broaden their thinking when it comes to making use of the cotton bi- products, the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD) has started
equipping them with knowledge on value addition.