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AFZ's cotton trade to decline in 2009/10
19
Oct '09
Cotton trade is a significant part of the national economies of the region. African Franc Zone1 (AFZ) trade in world cotton trade has also risen over the years, accounting for a record 15 percent of world trade in 1998/99. In past few years however, the cotton sectors in the Franc Zone have struggled to keep pace with their past performance. The bulk of the cotton produced in the region is traded abroad, exposing the industry to the whims and caprices of the world markets.

In 2009/10, AFZ exports are forecast at 2.2 million bales, down 3 percent from a year ago. If realized, that forecast will constitute the fifth consecutive year of declining trade and lowest exports in two decades.

The impact of the 2008 global food and financial crises has been detrimental to the region's cotton trade in a variety of ways. First, cotton importing countries reduced imports sharply in 2008/09 as world consumption declined.

In addition, skyrocketing food prices in that same period posed a stiff competition for land and meager input resources for AFZ cotton production and, therefore, exports. Even in normal times, cotton growers are widely noted for diverting government-provided fertilizers into food grains production. But soaring food prices in 2008 may have escalated such diversion of resources.

U.S. Department of Agriculture

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