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Cotton production may shoot to 40-50K MT: Deputy Chairman - CDT
Apr '11
Malawian cotton farmers have a reason to cheer as they find optimism in air for their 'Bread and Butter' i.e. cotton trading at good price, and a good crop this year.

Speaking exclusively with Fibre2fashion News team, Deputy Chairman at Cotton Development Trust (CDT), Mr Duncun Warren, informs “The low world prices of 2009 led to farmer disenchantment with cotton production, so that production in 2009/10 was low, about 15,000 MT, possibly the lowest in the past 20 years. Ginners offered prices of about MK 45/kg (US$0.30/kg), against a government minimum price set at MK 75/kg (US$0.48).”

“However, the turnaround in prices in 2010 that went up to MK 100-120/kg (US$0.64-0.80/kg) encouraged farmers to plant more cotton, and so we are expecting production to shoot to about 40-50,000 MT,” he gushes in hope attributing the factors behind.

Mr Warren further admits that this production could have been still higher but mid-season drought in Chikhwawa/Nsanje, the main cotton areas in Malawi, has affected overall production.

Malawi's economy is highly dependent on agriculture, with cotton contributing about 32 million dollars, and thus being country's fourth largest foreign exchange earner.

“Malawi has capacity to produce and gin between 100,000 to 180,000 MT seed cotton per annum,” accentuates Mr Warren.

Pointing out the key limitation in the good growth, he underlines the low domestic value addition.

He remarks, “At the moment, over 95% of the lint is exported. We would like to see a reversal in this regard, to have at least 90% of the lint processed within Malawi. It is in this regard that we would welcome investments in spinning, weaving and dying.”

Addressing our interrogation about CDT's plans on bettering the sector overall being a vital body in cotton segment , Mr Warren replies ” We are now working on developing the national cotton sector strategic plan that will provide direction and coordination for all the stakeholders in developing the sector.”

According to the information shared by him, the other development that is in progress is the review of the Cotton Act that will provide the policy and regulatory framework to manage the cotton sector effectively.

Besides, he also delves out that at the moment, CDT is also working on resolving the seed supply system, implementing an extensive country wide cotton field demonstration program to advance yield enhancing technologies, addressing the pricing and marketing issues, taking the lead in developing the strategic plan for the cotton sector, and collaborating with government in expediting the review of the old cotton act that will usher in the establishment of the much anticipated Cotton Council.

“The CDT is bringing all the players in the cotton sector to a partnership platform to address the challenges facing the sector. It is bringing the public and private sector to work together,” adds the Deputy Chairman.

Fibre2fashion News Desk - India

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