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Africa targets three-fold rise in cotton output by 2023
Mar '13
African cotton producers are targeting to boost their raw cotton output by three times from the existing 1.5 million tons to 5 million tons per annum over the next ten years, to better command the global cotton prices, Mohammed Iya, President of the African Cotton Association, said while addressing a conference in Lome, the capital city of Togo, a country in West Africa.
Until 1990s, West Africa contributed around 15 percent to global cotton exports, however, market crash during early 2000s caused several cotton producers in the region to shift to other crops. 
Cotton production of Ivory Coast, which earlier contributed around 400,000 tons to the region’s annual output, also halved as the 2002-03 civil war divided the country into two parts.
Despite all these adversities, with the firm determination of its farmers and revival in the industry, if the continent manages to achieve the set target, it would once again place Africa in a strong position to rule the price of its produce, Mr. Iya said.
The revival can be seen as Ivory Coast projects a yield of around 360,000 tons of raw cotton this season, with number of cotton producers going up from last season’s 80,000 to 100,000 this season.
Meanwhile, surpassing last season’s output of 445,314 tons, Mali has already harvested over 450,000 million tons of cotton by now this season.
Mr. Iya suggested that in order to sustain this revival trend, African nations would be required to boost its cotton cultivation acreage in the near term by persuading the governments to provide subsidy for fertilizers and to support agricultural research, to boost crop output.
He even suggested that African countries should consider using genetically modified (GM) seeds, which better suit the growing conditions in the continent.
Farmers in Burkina Faso have already started using GM seeds, while in Cameroon it is still in a testing phase, Mr. Iya said.

Fibre2fashion News Desk - India

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