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CMIA conference discusses Tanzanian cotton industry
Oct '13
The seventh Cotton Made in Africa (CMIA) conference held under the Competitive African Cotton Initiative (COMPACI) in northern Tanzanian city of Arusha discussed the current situation of the Tanzanian cotton industry, Daily News Tanzania reported.
Speaking at the conference, Yamungu Kayandabila, Deputy Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Agriculture, Food Security and Cooperatives said low investment, poor value addition and lack of extension services attributable to limited number of agricultural experts have hampered the growth of cotton sub-sector in Tanzania for the past many years.
Speaking on behalf of the Minister, he said with low productivity of cotton, being below one ton per acre at present, it would be difficult to achieve national target of 1.5 tons per acre by 2015.
Mr. Kayandabila said cotton industry is one of the key employment and income generating sectors of Tanzania, which being a source of employment for over 500,000 people, also heavily contributes to the Gross Domestic Product (GDP) of the country. However, poor extension services, lack of proper financial services and adequate credit access and also fluctuations in global cotton prices impact the domestic market. 
Tanzania has an estimated 400,000-500,000 acres of land under cotton cultivation, mainly characterized by high fluctuations in productivity. This is mainly because small farmers holding around 0.5-10 acres of land undertake cultivation primarily using hand hoe technique and depend on rain water for irrigation. 
Shinyanga, Mara, Mwanza, Singida, Kagera and Tabora are the main cotton producing regions that contribute around 95 percent of Tanzania’s total cotton production, while the rest comes from Tanga, Kilimanjaro, Morogoro and Manyara, Mr. Kayandabila said.
COMPACI director Roger Peltzer said CMIA aims at strengthening around 650,000 farmers across Africa in Ivory Coast, Benin, Cameroon, Burkina Faso, Malawi, Zimbabwe, Zambia, Mozambique and Tanzania.
This would be done through helping farmers to boost their productivity and crop quality through measures like introducing good agricultural practices and diversifying production, he said.
The program would be launched in close association with experienced private sector countries in respective countries, to facilitate availability of enhanced credit facility, better seed inputs and know-how. Also, it would help cotton growers to brand their cotton as organic or “Cotton made in Africa” and ensure better marketing by developing a direct link with textile retailers, Mr. Peltzer added. 

Fibre2fashion News Desk - India

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