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California Lutheran University

Publication Date

Fall 2013

Program Name

Uganda: Development Studies


Current policies promote value addition industries and increased cotton yields. On the ground, however, cotton production and textile industries continue to lag behind previous rates of production. The study therefore sought to understand the conditions contributing to the current economic climate of the cotton industry. Once context was established, the researcher explored factors both promoting and discouraging cotton cultivation. Finally, the research explores the developmental consequences of increasing cotton and textile production in Uganda. In order to meet the aforementioned objectives, the researcher carried out a value chain analysis of the cotton and textile industry, taking note of the policies most profitable for individual farmers and companies. A historical documentary analysis also provided insight into common tendencies in cotton production. Interviews and a focus group with farmers, ginnery operators, textile factory employees and other individuals with industry knowledge provided different insights into factors affecting the business. Site visits and participatory observation at ginneries, farms, and textile factories in Jinja, Kasese, Kampala and Gulu provided additional industry knowledge. The researcher found that some efforts have successfully increased cotton cultivation by addressing challenges to production. However, the researcher also found increased production along the textile value chain does not insure industry cohesion. In addition, the methods currently being used to increase production lack sustainability. Although value chains and value added products could generate substantial income and jobs in Uganda, the cotton sector is not the area in which value addition should be supported. Cotton’s low profitability requires input subsidies in order to maintain farmer attentiveness to the crop. Without a domestic market for Ugandanmade textiles and cotton lint, international market volatility could jeopardize input subsidies, services and payment to farmers, leading to a steep production decline as occurred in the 1970s (Locke & Goeldner Byrne, 2008). The researcher suggests further research into more promising sectors for value addition. Factors to consider when choosing a sector to investigate for potential value chain investment should include 1) food crops with high profit margins for farmers 2) labor intensive supply chains in order to increase employment and 3) a domestic market ready to receive value added products.


Growth and Development | Industrial Organization | Natural Resources Management and Policy | Sustainability


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