KITGUM – Cotton farmers in Acholi sub region face a painful choice: whether to quit or continue growing cotton on a large scale despite the plummeting market prices.
East Acholi Cooperative Union Limited (EACU) has about 107 primary affiliate societies and each has about 300 to 500 members.
Formed in the 1960s, EACU has a presence in the northern districts of Agago, Pader, Kitgum and Lamwo.
Charles Okot, the chairman of Gem- Onyot Cooperative, an affiliate of East Acholi Cooperative Union, told theCooperator in an interview, that the pitiable prices of majorly cotton have remained a hindrance to large scale cotton farming.
“Cotton is labor intensive but you sell a kilogram at only Shs 1,000, it’s discouraging. At times it drops up to Shs 800. That has demoralized farmers so much,” he said
“We are appealing to the head of cooperatives in the country to see how best the prices can be improved so that more cotton farmers can embrace this crop as it was in the past,” he said.
Nathan Obwoy, a cotton farmer, said the plummeting prices are a setback to many would-be large scale farmers.
“In the past, the cooperative had more members but the numbers have since reduced. Members have embarked on growing better paying crops like groundnuts, sim-sim, soya bean and sorghum,” he said
Henry Komakech, the manager of East Acholi Cooperative Union, said without value addition, farmers can’t expect to reap much from their raw cotton.
“What do you expect to get, we have no capacity to add value to what we produce, and we just sell raw cotton. If we could do ginning and spinning, there we would demand for whatever we want,” he said
Komakech said they are reaching out to development partners for support.
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