Cotton Farmers call for End to Dunavant Monopoly

2136 Views Kitgum, Uganda
A large section of cotton farmers in Kitgum are fed up of the monopoly of cotton export company, Dunavant, and demanding an immediate end to its domination. The farmers, most who are new to cotton growing, claim that when they entered the business, Dunavant promised them incentives, seeds and good prices for their harvest. However many are stuck with stores full of cotton and no one to buy it. With a potential loss of their money and their business, the farmers are angry and want Kitgum district authorities to take action to save them from exploitation. Dunavant has the monopoly over the purchase of organic cotton in Kitgum district. It provides farmers with high-yielding cotton seeds at a subsidized price, promising to buy the yields at harvest time. On its website, Dunavant boats of assisting approximately 12,000 farmers in northern Uganda by helping them to earn a living after years of living in camps for internally displaced people. But Grace Laker, a cotton farmer in Palabek Gem Sub-County, says the reality is far from the prosperity promised. She says Dunavant does not have the capacity to buy all the stock of the farmers. As a result hundreds are left with no income and no money to care for their families. //Cue in: iThose Dunavant #i Cue out: i# pay their school fees.i Charles Okot, a farmer in Lagoro Sub-County, says Dunavant's monopoly has stopped the work of middlemen who had access to the villages and were able to buy the cotton. Okot says that although he has been promised high prices for his cotton, from 650 to 800 shillings per kilogram, he does not have the money to transport his cotton to the Dunavant center in Kitgum town. //Cue in: iIf possible #i Cue out: i# have been growing.i// The Kitgum District Council is negotiating with the Cotton Development Authority and Dunavant in order to end the monopoly. John Komakech Ogwok, the Kitgum LC5 chairperson, said that in this age of liberalization there is no room for the monopoly of the sort held by Dunavant. //Cue in: iThis is a liberalized ...i Cue out: i# period of competition.i//


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