So, what all determinants can be attributed to this cotton production decline?
The decrease in cotton production over recent years can mainly be attributed to the following factors:
•To the perception that cotton farming is no longer a viable option in view of the more favourable prices of other competing summer crops (world wide trend).
•Cotton prices over recent years have not increased to the same extent as in the case of other summer crops (world wide trend).
•Cotton faces stiff competition from crops such as maize and sunflower where prices offer farmers greater profitability whilst requiring less management inputs (world wide trend).
•The high input cost has made it very risky for dryland farmers to plant cotton at prevailing prices. Dryland cotton farming in the past formed the base of SA’s cotton production (10 years ago two thirds of the RSA’s cotton was planted under dryland, about 67 000 ha, for the current season less than 2 000 ha are estimated to be planted under dryland).
•The low international prices of recent years which discouraged any growth in cotton production, was in part due to subsidies provided by many governments of large cotton producing countries to their cotton industries.
•The Rand which remained relatively strong against the US dollar over recent years, has also played a role.
And, how do you envisage its future?
The decline in South African cotton production and consumption does not necessarily mean that there is no longer a future for cotton in South Africa. On the contrary, although the importance of domestically produced cotton, in terms of its gross value compared to other South African field crops is low, it is a crop highly suitable for small-scale farming as it is drought tolerant and non-perishable. Cotton production is also labour intensive, provides numerous job opportunities on farm level and production can be expanded without causing surpluses. Although cotton production may not always seem to be financially lucrative, it is often the most economic and viable crop in marginal dryland production areas. In the traditional cotton growing area of Makhathini in Northern KwaZulu-Natal for example, where more than 4000 small-scale cotton farmers reside, cotton is often the only commodity that can be planted due to the irregular rainfall in the region. In this region and in other marginal dryland production areas, cotton contributes to the social upliftment of people and assists in rural development and the elimination of poverty. As cotton is a cash crop it impacts positively on the households of rural communities in terms of food security and income levels and can be regarded as a major vehicle to empower emerging farmers.
Concluding talk here, we would request you to kindly help us understand more about Cotton Mark and its benefits.
The Cotton Mark is a registered trademark launched by South African cotton producers as a quality mark for cotton merchandise.
Since 1985, the use of the Cotton Mark was granted to most of the important players in the cotton pipeline and the mark has become a true standard against which all cotton produce is measured.
Since the launch of the Cotton Mark, ongoing marketing, promotional and educational campaigns were executed in print and electronic media, point-of-sale campaigns and competitions including the trade and consumers.
Cotton SA is also awarding players in the cotton industry for excellence by way of the coveted annual Cotton SA awards.
The aims and benefits are;
To enable the consumer to identify locally manufactured or imported cotton goods.
To inform the consumer about the quality and inherent characteristics contained in cotton merchandise.
To create a selling point for the merchandise of the authorised Cotton Mark users.
To share in the ongoing promotional and marketing campaigns by creating a consumer and trade awareness on a national basis. The use of a registered trade mark, which is protected by South African law.
Thanks a lot for your time and precious comments, Mr Bruwer!
DISCLAIMER: All views and opinions expressed in this column are solely of the interviewee, and they do not reflect in any way the opinion of Fibre2Fashion.com.