Cotton prices hit record high


COTTON prices have hit record highs, rising prospects of better household income for farmers and improved export revenue this year. Prices jumped to sh1,600, from sh900 per kg a year ago as the world cotton stocks diminished due to low supply and a robust demand.
“It is great that the market price is high because this will boost farmers morale to grow more cotton,” Jolly Sabune, the Cotton Development Organisation (CDO) head, said.
She explained that the rise was due to increased worldwide demand, adding that there were shortages in other countries, and “that has helped us.”
Recent climate change disasters have wrecked havoc in the leading cotton producing nations; the US, China and Pakistan. India, the world’s second largest cotton growing nation, has stopped lint exports to stimulate local consumer demand and strengthen its textile industry.
The development comes at a time when many businesses are suffering. These price increases that haven’t been seen since the American Civil War (1861–1865) prevented shipments of the crop, according to experts.
The high prices are expected to rise farmers’ household income and export revenue as cotton production is hoped to double this year.
“Despite out-of-season drought in the south-western region, we expect to produce 130,000 bales this year, up from 70,000 bales last year,” Sabune said.
“This will translate to sh90.7b household income. Export revenue will amount to $73.4m (about sh171b).”
Uganda’s cotton industry is stabilising, especially after the restoration of peace in northern Uganda, a traditional cotton growing region.
The cotton regulatory body has intervened to support farmers by supplying high-quality seeds and pesticides at affordable prices.
This strategy is aimed at enhancing cotton production to improve household income and reduce poverty.
“Prices will not drastically fall this year. They will remain higher than they were previously as the global economy struggles to regain its balance.”
But Sabune called for the development of a vibrant spinning and textile industry to absorb the raw cotton, arguing that value-addition would ensure better returns to farmers.
“The high farm-gate prices are discouraging millers to buy cotton from the farmers,” she warned, adding that there was a need to build small ginneries upcountry.