Farmers Shun Attempts to Revive Cotton Production in Acholi

3620 Views Amuru, Ethiopia
The move by West Acholi Cooperative Union to revamp cotton production in the sub region has failed to attract most farmers who have switched to growing other crops. Early this year, the union embarked on a strategy to produce about 4,000 bales of cotton, marking a come back following several years of inactivity due to the rebel insurgency. Johnson Okech, secretary Manager of West Acholi Cooperative Union, says a total of 20 tons of cotton seeds was distributed to the farmers and that 4,200 member farmers were registered from 99 Growers' Cooperative Societies. However, most of the farmers have indicated that cotton is no longer their priority crop as a result of the fluctuating price on the world market as well as the intensive labour the crop requires. Betty Opige, chairperson of Kweyo Growers Cooperative society says only 7 farmers out of the registered 300 members of the society have planted cotton this season. She says that most farmers declined to pick the seeds, which were delivered to the store. Opige explains that most farmers say they now prefer fast maturing crops to cotton, a perennial crop. She complains that even the few who planted the crop have been hit by drought, which affected its germination with the fields producing only few seedlings. Michael Okot, secretary Alero Labala Growers Cooperative Society in Amuru district says they have a total of 150 registered farmers but that only 70 planted cotton this season. Okot admits that it will require a lot of effort to lure back more farmers to produce cotton. He says besides the fluctuating market price of cotton, corruption by officials who were buying the cotton also scared off some farmers because many were not paid for their produce and have since switched to other crops like beans, sunflower, and groundnuts. //Cue in: iFarmers turned to#i Cue out: i#happen next year.i// Okot suggests that an effort should be made to help farmers with farm implements, funds through a loan scheme so as to lure many back to producing the crop. //Cue in: iMaybe next year#i Cue out: i#will come back.i//


Tagged with: cotton farming