Government Launches Cotton Farm in Kitgum

Minister Kania Mario Obiga plucks cotton at Orom- Yikao prisons farm in Kitgum (Photo by Emmy Ojara)

 

Government has launched the Uganda Prisons Cotton Farm in Orom-Tikao Government Prisons in Kitgum district. The farm sits on a 7,200 acres piece of land located in Tikao Village Gule Parish in Orom Sub County and was offered by the community free of charge.

It was launched on Friday by Kania Mario Obiga the Minister for Internal Affairs.

Obiga said that launching the Uganda Prisons Farm follows President Yoweri Museveni`s directive in 2015 that the prisons services should be the main producer of cotton for Uganda.

The Minister explained that Uganda is moving towards reviving cotton production because it is a strategic crop for the economy of the country as it creates opportunities for farming, ginning, spinning, weaving threads and garment making and employment.

Johnson Byabashaija, the Commissioner General of Prisons said that President Museveni gave Uganda Prisons services a target of 44,000 acres of cotton to revive the textile industry.

Mr Byabashaija explained that in the first season of 2016, Uganda Prisons planted 261 acres of cotton as pilot and in the second planted 2,359 acres and in 2018, 4,600 acres.

According to Byabashaija, Uganda Prisons Services in the financial year 2019/2020 will plant 5,000 acres and hope to hit the 44,000 acres set by the president by 2025.

The cotton farming by the prison services is being done in partnership with Cotton Development Organization which offers for technical supports, Byabashaija said.

Cotton was introduced in Uganda in 1953 as a mandatory cash crop; every household was required to produce at least half an acre.  In 2018 Uganda produced 70,000 bales of the crop.