The cotton industry in the country is poised for a big boost after passing through decades of slump in production. As part of the revival plan, the government will give land to large investors. According to outgoing trade and industry minister, Richard Kaijuka, investors will have to chip in capital to the tune of us $50 million and above. "We are talking to investors in Israel, Egypt and South Africa to invest in largescale farming of cotton," Kaijuka said. The plan aims at increasing cotton yield to around us $625 per year in four or five years' time. Efforts at reviving the production of cotton, have been going on since 1993 with the help of a World Bank loan worth us $31 million. The cotton industry holds the key to a better economy. Farmers have been earning more after privatisation measures were introduced. As part of the quality drive, free seeds that produce the longer, firmer fibres used in polyester-mix fabrics, are distributed to the farmers. However, if the government does not build in controls over pesticide and fertiliser use, an Aral Sea type of disaster (Down To Earth, Vol 4, No 12) is almost certain.
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