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Madagascar's Sofia region set for major cotton production
29
Jul '14
Sofia region in northern Madagascar is set to become a major cotton producer as Port Bergé area has attracted Chinese investment, according to an L’Express de Madagascar report.
 
Addressing a press conference, Area Chief Serge Elliot said cotton growing existed in the Sofia region since the settlement, but after the departure of the settlers, cotton growing was abandoned in favour of rice and tobacco.
 
Now there is slight recovery in cotton growing, and the presence of Chinese investors would further boost production, he added.
 
However, he clarified that it is still not clear whether the Chinese investors would export cotton in its raw form or add some value before it is exported.
 
Earlier this year, Chinese investors announced a project to plant cotton in Port Bergé area of Sofia region. The project involves an investment of US$ 60 million, of which $12 million would be allocated by the China-Africa Development Fund and $20 million by the Business Development Bank of China. The remaining would be provided by private operators.
 
The demand for cotton is likely to increase in Madagascar as the domestic textile and clothing industry got a boost last month after the US President Barack Obama reinstated the country’s eligibility for African Growth and Opportunity Act (AGOA) benefits.
 
Following a 2009 coup d’état, the African island nation of Madagascar was removed from the list of countries eligible to get AGOA benefits, on January 1, 2010. Subsequently, successful elections in late 2013 led to the formation of Madagascar’s first democratic government since the 2009 coup. 
 
AGOA is a US preferential trade program established in May 2000 that provides duty-free access to the US$3 trillion American market for thousands of products from eligible sub-Saharan African countries.
 
Until 2009, garment and textile factories in Madagascar had a turnover of US$ 600 million. Of this, the industry exported around $275 million worth of duty free goods to the US under the AGOA.
 
The clothing and textile industry in Madagascar provided direct employment to over 50,000 workers and indirect employment to over 100,000 people. However, some companies collapsed after the suspension of AGOA benefits to the country.
 

Fibre2fashion News Desk - India

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