CDO Advises Farmers To Abandon Organic Cotton Farming

1951 Views Kitgum, Uganda
Cotton farmers in Kitgum and Pader districts have been advised to abandon Organic cotton production and return to conventional cotton farming. Organic production systems replenish and maintain soil fertility, reduce the use of toxic, persistent pesticides and fertilizers and build biologically diverse agriculture. Organic cotton farming was introduced in Northern Uganda by Dunavant an International Organization. But Jolly Sabune, the director Cotton Development Organization [CDO] says that Organic cotton production has poor quality yields. She says that low cotton yields have been recorded in areas that took to organic cotton production in 2004 as compared to areas that engaged in conventional cotton farming. She says about 15,000 bales of cotton were lost in Kitgum and Pader districts as a result of organic cotton farming. //Cue in: iIn 2004#i Cue out: i#Kitgum and Pader.i// Sabune also says that organic cotton accounts for only 0.2 percent of the World Cotton market. She says that it is illogical to restrict farmers to Organic cotton production when government does not have market for their produce. //Cue in: iThe organic cotton market#i Cue out: i#have markets for.i// Mathew Ocen the LC V councilor Madi Opei says that there seems to be an investment problem in Uganda. Ocen says CDO should motivate the farmers on conventional cotton farming by setting up demonstration farms. //Cue in: iIt seems there#i Cue out: i#conventional and organic.i// Dunavant has been giving cotton farmers implements as a motivation to practice organic farming. The farmers fear losing out on the support if they abandon organic cotton farming. Peter Ocen a farmer at Madi Opei says he doesn't see the difference between organic and conventional cotton farming. Ocen says that his yields have been satisfactory since he adopted organic cotton farming two years ago. He says apart from Dunavant opening up farm land for him, it allows him to grow his food crop. George Maiteki, the Director of Ngetta Zonal Agricultural Research and Develoment Institute believes that organic cotton production had positive results because the land had fallowed during the years of conflict since there was not farming activity. Maiteki says that most cotton worms had died out because there was no cotton to feed on but the situation will not last longer.


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