Despite the presence of the iron mineral deposits as well as a good environment for cotton growing, most of the raw materials for the steel and cotton industries are being imported, according to UMA.
The Uganda Manufacturers Association will in the next two years focus on reviving and developing the cotton and iron industries. These two areas were named the base for Uganda's manufacturing growth.
Unfortunately, despite the presence of iron mineral deposits as well as a
good environment for cotton growing, most of the raw materials for the steel
and cotton industries are being imported, according to UMA.
Addressing the newly re-inaugurated Board of UMA, Kaddu Kiberu, a member of the
Advisory Council, said that apart from keeping the cost of doing business high,
imports of raw materials ensure that the Industry growth is limited.
Yet, according to him, the private sector alone cannot develop the expensive
iron and steel industry, hence the need for the government to intervene.
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The steel industry in Uganda mainly supports building and construction, motor and agriculture, and industrial equipment production.
On cotton, both Kiberu and the reelected board chairman, Deo Kayemba, said
there are already efforts by the industrialists to revive cotton growing.
Kiberu, also the proprietor of Peacock Paints Ltd, said that for almost two years
now, they have been mobilizing farmers in some districts in the central region
to revive cotton growing.
Despite registering some cases in terms of response, Kiberu says there are many
challenges, especially convincing the farmers that cotton, which was the top
commodity after copper and coffee three decades ago, can be lucrative again.
He says the situation currently needs experts to help the farmers in technical
matters, however, he is confident that the situation will get better.
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Planting is expected to start with the next rainy season in February when
seeds will also be distributed in the districts.
Asked about the seeds, Kiberu says it is one of the challenges with the
available commercial seed suppliers having seeds that cannot be replanted.
He says he has a plan to overcome this exploitative practice so that the
farmers find the business affordable.
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Up to 40 years ago, the cotton industry was vibrant with growers around the
country while there were ginneries in all regions, as well as several spinning
and tanning plants.
Over the years, farmers abandoned the crop as a collapse of some factories as
well as the coming of private cotton buyers disrupted the market.
As the industrialists try to revive growth, Kiberu urges produce buyers to
stop exploitative practices like forcing low prices on producers because this
discourages production of the raw materials.
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Kayemba, the Board Chairman and CEO of East African Roofings, says the next
two years of office will see the early stages of the cotton industry take
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Abid Alam, also a member of the Advisory Council urged the government and the
regional counterparts to continue removing non-tariff barriers to enable the manufacturers
to grow their capacity further to exploit the local resources.
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UMA also plans to expand the showgrounds with the development of the northern
part of their area adjacent to Nakawa Market.
Currently, the place has remained undeveloped and used by roadside vendors, but
Kiberu says it is a source of insecurity for the manufacturers and the visitors
to the grounds.
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Board chairman Kayemba says they plan to start developing it in 2025, and it
will host shops and exhibition stalls.
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The entire Board led by Kayemba, deputized by Aga Sekalala Jr was reelected for another two-year term. The association also realized a surplus of almost 1 billion shillings, up three times the previous year.