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Colombian cotton farming deteriorates with dip in demand
Jul '13
Cotton cultivation in Latin American country of Colombia has deteriorated due to the decreasing demand from both the domestic and global textile industry as well as lack of sophisticated pest management program.

According to the statistical report of Colombian cotton industry by International Cotton Advisory Committee (ICAC), during the last three years, the profitability and competitiveness of cotton cultivation has seriously deteriorated. The consumption of cotton fibre in Colombia has fallen from 85,000 tons in 2005 to 68,000 tons in 2013.

The ICAC report states that there is a discouragement among cotton farmers in Colombia because of the reduction of demand for cotton from the local textile industry. The domestic cotton market continues to shrink, both in volume as well as in the quality of cotton fibre consumed by the Colombian textile industry.

Speaking to fibre2fashion, Mr. Terry Townsend, executive director of ICAC, said, “Cotton production in Colombia has been trending downward because of competition from other crops and strong insect pressure.”

“Colombian cotton crops are affected by Boll Weevil - a beetle measuring an average length of six millimeters, which feeds on cotton buds and flowers - and because of the tropical climate as well as  numerous small-holder production areas, the country has not been able to develop a successful region-wide boll weevil suppression program,” he informs.

The ICAC report states that at the global market, increased volatility of prices has negatively affected cotton fibre consumption and stimulated higher contents of other synthetic fibres in products which in turn lead to higher stocks and low international prices.

As a result, cultivation costs of cotton have increased, yields have been declining and the financial situation of several cotton growers has seriously deteriorated, forcing the cotton farmers to slowdown credit and supplier’s payments, the report adds.

However, with the scheduled implementation of the Interim Trade Agreement between Colombia and the 28-EU member states, the demand for Colombian textiles, and thereby cotton, may grow.

The Colombian Minister for Commerce, Industry and Trade Sergio Diaz-Granados said the agreement would boost the domestic market, by allowing Colombia to take advantage of tariff preferences in a better way.

Though, Colombia can use both nylon and elastomer imported from third countries for making products meant for export to the EU under FTA provisions, yarn must be made in either Colombia or the EU, he added.

Talking about the prospects of cotton industry in Colombia, Mr. Townsend says, “Colombia remains a significant cotton producer in Latin America, accounting for 21,000 tons this season and the country is expected to produce 35,000 tons of cotton in 2013/14.”

“However, the textile industry of Columbia consumes 74,000 tons of cotton, much higher than the production of cotton in the country and without a sophisticated pest management program, Colombia farmers will have difficulty in expanding cotton production significantly,” he concludes.

Fibre2fashion News Desk - India

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