Stakeholders in the cotton sector have asked Parliament to investigate how indicative cotton prices and levies are set by the cotton authority to the detriment of farmers.

This was prompted by a submission by Cotton Development Organisation (CDO) and ginners indicating that cotton prices will be reduced from Shs1,600 to Shs1,000 per kilogramme countrywide this year’s season basing on international markets.

A source from Lira, who attended a heated stakeholders’ meeting in Kampala last week, said they also disagreed with the accountability of Shs46.8 billion presented by Agriculture Minister Tress Bucanayandi, citing unclear circumstances under which it was collected and spent.

The meeting was chaired by Third Deputy Prime Minister Gen. Moses Ali
The source said: “We demanded that three parties in the cotton sector CDO, ginners and Uganda Ginners and Cotton Exporters Association refund the said money to the farmers after it was realised that it belonged to them.”

Former MP Charles Angiro Gutumoi confirmed the developments saying: “We disagreed with the authority on how the money was spent by CDO to buy seeds, chemicals and training farmers…, which was already done by government.”
He said they demanded to know the beneficiaries of the training and ox-ploughs in each area growing cotton.

Farmers also described levying Shs600 per kilogramme on seed cotton tax as cheating, demanding the intervention of the President to investigate the alleged illegality.
However, Mr Bucanayandi denied any investigation by Parliament saying: “The money in question belongs to ginners and farmers in the private sector.”

The source said MPs led by Ms Cecilia Ogwal (Dokolo) demanded that CDO, CDF and other stakeholders immediately halt the levy of Shs200 per kilogramme set by CDO and ginners this season or no more cotton would be produced.

By Ephraim Kasozi, Daily Monitor

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