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How to grow COTTON in Uganda

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Cotton in UgandaCotton in Uganda

Cotton is a soft, fluffy staple fiber that grows in a boll, or protective case, around the seeds of the cotton plants of the genus Gossypium in the mallow family Malvaceae. 

The fiber is almost pure cellulose. Under natural conditions, the cotton bolls will increase the dispersal of the seeds.

The plant has been cultivated in tropical and sub tropical regions of the world for its boll for fiber and seeds for oil respectively. 

The major cotton hub in Uganda is seated in the eastern region where the garment factory of Nytil is located. Locally we call cotton ‘PAMBA’.


Common varieties of Cotton in Uganda 

There are mainly two cotton varieties which have been made available in large number of hybrid types. These are;

  • American Up-land cotton
  • Sea Island cotton

Contact us here to buy Cotton, Cotton Seeds and Cotton Seedlings in Uganda


Soil requirements for growing Cotton in Africa 

Cotton plants perform best in deep, highly fertile, sandy loam soils with a pH range between 5.5 and 7.5.


How to propagate Cotton on your farm

Like most plants, cotton is best started using seeds. These take about two weeks to sprout into cotton seedlings.

Contact us here to buy Cotton, Cotton Seeds and Cotton Seedlings in Uganda


How to plant cotton in Uganda

When planning to plant cotton it’s advisable to do two tilling, the first tillage to loosen the soil as it helps in improving soil aeration, and soil structure. 

The second tillage will be to incorporate starter fertilizers and to also sow the cotton seedling.

Open up trenches of 3 to 5 cm deep at a spacing of 20 to 100 cm in a row. 

Depending on the seed quality and cost, 2 to 4 seeds are sown per spot. 

Then cover them with fine soil to protect the germinating seeds. 

Two weeks after emergence of cotton seeds you go ahead to thin out week seedlings so that there are only one to two plants in each spot.

Two months after emergence of the cotton plant apply a first op dress of organic manure and then earthen up the planting lines to make ridges. 

This helps to suppress weeds and reduces evaporation of soil moisture. 

To maximize land use you can intercrop your cotton with maize, cow peas or sunflower.


Contact us here to buy Cotton, Cotton Seeds and Cotton Seedlings in Uganda


How best to Harvest cotton in Africa 

First bolls generally begin to open 105 to 130 days after cotton planting. 

I would urge you to allow the cotton bolls to fully ripen and open before you proceed with harvesting. 

When picking do it after the morning dew has dried up, so that the cotton is dry and less prone to fungus when being stored.

Harvesting is done by hand as the bolls are put in clean cotton cloth material; this is after sorted to remove leaves, capsules and damage bolls to allow for grading.

Contact us here to buy Cotton, Cotton Seeds and Cotton Seedlings in Uganda


About the Market and uses of Cotton 

The Ugandan cotton business has a niche market where most cotton grown in the country it is used by the countries processing factory Nytil. 

The farmer who grows cotton will gain more if you sell the bulk of your cotton to the factory.


Cotton is used to make a number of textile products. These include terrycloth for highly absorbent bath towels and robes; denim for blue jeans; cambric, popularly used in the manufacture of blue work shirts (from which we get the term "blue-collar"); and corduroy, seersucker, and cotton twill. Socks, underwear, and most T-shirts are made from cotton. Bed sheets often are made from cotton. Cotton also is used to make yarn used in crochet and knitting. 


In addition to the textile industry, cotton is used in fishing nets, coffee filters, tents, explosives manufacture (see nitrocellulose), cotton paper, and in bookbinding.


The cottonseed which remains after the cotton is ginned is used to produce cottonseed oil, which, after refining, can be consumed by humans like any other vegetable oil. The cottonseed meal that is left generally is fed to ruminant livestock.


Contact us here to buy Cotton, Cotton Seeds and Cotton Seedlings in Uganda


Quick tips for planting cotton in Uganda

  • Cotton growing is largely a commercial plant to produce.
  • Open up land meant for planting to clear up all shrubs and amend the soil structure.
  • This will be followed by a second tillage to enable create a fine tilth for the cotton seeds.
  • Open up a trench about of about 3 to 5 cm in a row.
  • At a spacing of 20x100 cm in the field place 2 to 4 seeds per spot depending on the variety.
  • Cover the seeds gently with soil to keep the seeds underneath to germinate.
  • In two weeks time the seeds shall have sprouted, so go ahead to thin out the week ones.
  • After the plants are firm in the field add organic compost and earthen up to create a ridge.
  • Have a pest and disease control schedule to control common boll and plant pests and diseases.
  • 130 days from planting you will be able to harvest your cotton balls.

Contact us here to buy Cotton, Cotton Seeds and Cotton Seedlings in Uganda


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