Interview with Mr Hennie Bruwer

Mr Hennie Bruwer
Mr Hennie Bruwer
Chief Executive Officer
Cotton South Africa
Cotton South Africa

Year 1997 brought in compulsory dissolution of the Cotton Board in South Africa. In terms of Marketing of Agricultural products Act-1996, in order to continue with essential functions in the welfare of South African Cotton, all role players in the cotton industry decided to form a company incorporated under section 21 of the Companies Act-1973, and named it Cotton South Africa, also known Cotton SA. As overseer private body, it is entrusted with number of responsibilities and activities pertaining to growth of entire value chain i.e. from production to marketing of South African cotton. Mr Hennie Bruwer is the CEO of the Cotton SA, since 1997 – the year of establishment of Cotton Board as Cotton SA. Mr Bruwer is a graduate in Commerce from University of South Africa-Victoria. Prior, he has also been working with Cotton Board. In an interview with Face2Face team, Mr Hennie Bruwer shares about South African cotton at length.

Welcome to Face2Face talk, Mr Bruwer! We understand Cotton SA as the overseer over the entire functional associations related to cotton. Can you provide us a gist of responsibilities your association shoulders in the goal of upliftment of South African cotton industry?

Ours is a service orientated company representative of the total South African cotton pipeline representing cotton producers, ginners, spinners, clothing and the household textile sector, consumers and labour. At Cotton SA, we are engaged into activities like rendering information service to all role players; promoting cotton production and usage; check on maintenance of quality norms; co-ordination in research; facilitating development of small scale cotton farming sector; acting as representative industry forum; and last but not least – overseeing implementation of Cotton Strategic Plan.

Please tell us about the core competencies of SA Cotton.

Cotton has great value as a rotational crop in South Africa and especially works well with wheat. South African cotton yields, compared to the rest of Africa are also outstanding. Yields are lately on average about 1000 kilograms cotton lint per hectare which is the highest in Africa. Although local cotton production is small, the qualities produced are as a rule excellent, with about 80% of the crop normally in the higher quality categories of Middling to Good Middling. The quality profile of the SA cotton crop predominantly falls within the medium to high category cottons that are highly suitable for export. Due to low levels of contamination the SA crop is rated amongst the least contaminated cotton in the world which gives SA a competitive advantage over many of its counterparts in Africa. The cotton crop is also homogeneous in terms of quality. This can be explained by the standardisation of varieties as basically only two varieties are cultivated in the country. From the above it is clear that there is a future for the primary cotton industry in South Africa with real prospects to expand production again, especially in the emerging farming sector.

Interesting! Can you also share with us the facts and figures on cotton production and consumption for past two years?

Over the past few seasons, cotton production in South Africa has gradually been declining to reach the lowest level in more than 45 years in the 2009/10 marketing season. The expected crop of about 8 500 tons cotton lint is one of the smallest on record and is about 90% less than the record crop of 20 years ago.

Were it not for the introduction of biotech cotton 10 years ago which enabled irrigation growers to increase their yields by almost 50% over this period, irrigated cotton would probably have followed the same trend as dryland cotton production.

Cotton consumption by local spinning mills has shown a similar decline as production. Over the past 10 years the local consumption of cotton decreased by about 39% and is currently about 45% down from levels of 6 years ago. This trend can mainly be ascribed to the continued imports of low-priced textiles and apparel from Asia and also because of the relative stronger Rand against the US dollar, all of which impact negatively on local demand as well as on textile and clothing exports. The decline in the economy as a result of the current global economic crisis further contributes to the declining demand for cotton.

At this stage a further decrease in cotton lint consumption by South African spinning mills is expected for the 2009/10 marketing year. Please click here to view further details of Hectares Planted & Yield For SA.

Published on: 01/02/2010

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.

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