About Cotton Work


Cotton Work in the Gulu region – a story from East Africa.

Grafik / Karte der an Uganda grenzenden Länder Kongo, Süd-Sudan, Kenia und Kennzeichnung des Konfliktgebiets in der Gulu Region.
Info-Grafik nördiches Grenzgebiet Ugandas und Konfliktregion.

Few stories have fascinated us as much in recent years as that of the Gulu Agricultural Development Company (GADC) in northern Uganda.

For almost 20 years, war raged in the region between the Lord’s Resistance Army (LRA) and the Ugandan army. The rebel group displaced more than two million people, abducted thousands of children and committed numerous atrocities. At its center was the town of Gulu. After 2006, hostilities ended, leaving behind a largely destroyed and deserted region. Slowly, the farmers returned and with their return, an agricultural cooperative was established in Gulu, centered on an old destroyed cotton processing plant. It was painstakingly repaired and is now the heart of a cooperative that works with about 120,000 small and micro farmers.

The GADC is working on the future of the region

The Gulu Agricultural Development Company (GADC) was founded after the end of an almost 20-yearwar in northern Uganda. At the center of the cooperative is an old cotton ginnery, badly damaged by the war, which was rehabilitated with the aim of cleaning and ginning cotton and then selling it in bales. After the war ended, many farmers returned to their land, but decades of living in refugee camps had led to a loss of knowledge of farming methods.


GADC established a system of training for small and micro farmers to impart knowledge on traditional and sustainable farming. GADC now has 400 employees, both permanent and seasonal, and works with about 120,000 small and micro farmers. Contrary to the widespread stereotypes of harmful cotton cultivation, the work of GADC and the farmers associated with it shows that cotton cultivation also works without artificial irrigation and massive use of pesticides.


Cotton, along with sesame, chillies and sunflowers, is just one of the many crops grown in rotation. The work in the fields has secured the livelihood and future of the returning farmers and consolidated the stability of the region. And yet, cotton is produced for the international market and the textile industry, and the contrast between raw material and the end product or producers and consumers could hardly be greater.

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