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East African cotton farmers losing out due to absence of business link
05
Nov '11
Cotton farmers in east Africa do not gain from the high international cotton prices due to absence of a link between them and garment producers and designers in world's leading fashion centres, African Cotton and Textile Industries Federation (ACTIF) Chairman, Jaswinder Bedi ,has said.

Speaking at the East African Cotton, Textile and Apparel (CTA) conference in Mombasa, the second-largest city in Kenya, Mr. Bedi said the absence of a link between the local Kenyan farmers and clothing manufacturers and designers is also a hurdle in the revival of Kenya's domestic cotton industry.

While cotton prices prevailed at around Sh100 per kg in international market, farmers in Kenya fetched only around Sh20 to Sh65 per kg, he said.

He added that high cost of inputs prevents cotton production, as just pesticides alone constitute a one-third of the farmer's input cost.

The conference organized by the Kenya Association of Manufacturers (KAM), Kenyatta University and ACTIF was aimed at enhancing the competitiveness of the cotton crop with the help of skill development, enabling legislation and innovation.

The conference was informed that cotton production is losing pace in the African continent though it has ample availability of land, mainly due to inadequate use of technology.

On the other side, Asia, the world's major cotton producer, experienced a real surge in cotton production as it adapted to the use of latest technology.

As against domestic demand for 100,000 bales, Kenya each year produces around 17,000 cotton bales. This may be attributed to the fact that the country has yet not adopted genetically modified seeds, popularly known as Bt cotton, which is tolerant to drought and is disease resistant.

Fibre2fashion News Desk - India

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