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Tanzania loses on account of degrading cotton quality
Jun '11
Deteriorating quality of cotton is causing Tanzania to lose around eight million US dollars each year.

Jumanne Maghembe, Minister for Agriculture, Food Security and Cooperatives, has stated that depreciation has been noted in quality of Tanzanian cotton over the past few years, which has compelled the textile mill owners to look for other sources for procuring cotton.

The fineness of cotton and its appropriateness for spinning highcount yarn is assessed on the basis of its micronaire value. As against global standards of 3.5 mic to 4.9 mic, the micronaire value of Tanzanian cotton ranges between 2.8 mic to 3.2 mic, according to ginners and traders.

Around 350,000 to 500,000 farmers, a majority of whom own small landholdings, residing in 42 districts of 13 regions in mainland Tanzania undertake cotton cultivation, as per the data of the Tanzania Cotton Board (TCB). There are a total of 127 districts in 21 regions in mainland Tanzania.

Cotton growing regions to the west of the country near Lake Victoria including Mara, Kigoma, Shinyanga Mwanza, Tabora, Singida and Kagera contribute over 99 percent of the country's overall cotton production.

Since last five years, among cash crops, cotton has fetched highest foreign exchange to country's exchequer at an average of US$ 92 million per year.

In East Africa, Tanzania is the leading textile and apparel exporting country to the European Union (EU). Its exports to the EU during 2000 to 2008 averaged US$ 20 million per year.

As per the TCB statistics, with a production of around 760kg/ha of seed cotton or 260 kg/ha of cotton lint, Tanzania's current cotton output averages 700,000 bales or 126,000 tons of cotton lint per annum.

Due to the steps initiated by the Government of Tanzania to upgrade the quality of domestic cotton, however, the TCB states that the Tanzanian farmers are likely to earn around US$ 172 million through sales of 250 million tons of cotton during the 2011-12 season.

Fibre2fashion News Desk - India

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