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African nations discuss impact of climate change on cotton
Mar '14
‘African cotton faces the challenge of climate change’ was the theme for 2-day discussion organized by the African Cotton Association (ACA), in Yamoussoukro, the capital of Ivory Coast, last week.
ACA acting president Salif Abdoulaye Cissoko said nearly 25 million Africans derive a significant portion of their revenues from the cotton industry, but the industry is experiencing enormous difficulties, with climate change being one of the reasons for the vulnerability of the cotton industry, Abidjan.net reported.
Climate change leads to increasing temperatures and lower and erratic rainfalls, which causes land degradation, the resurgence of pests and loss of quality cotton, ultimately leading to a decline in cotton production.
Burkina Faso, the largest producer of cotton in Africa with over 700,000 tons, is also affected by climate change. Yacouba Koura, representative of the National Union of Cotton Producers of Burkina Faso (UNPCB), said the problem of climate change is real in his country. He said the rains caused enormous problems for farmers during the last planting season, and the rains stopped earlier than usual negatively impacting the maturity of cotton.
According to the techniques used, between 7,000 and 29,000 litres of water is needed to produce one kilogram of cotton, while growing wheat and rice requires only 900 litres and 1,900 litres of water, respectively, and in such a situation, the changing seasons especially affects cotton producers, said Koura.
Similarly, Tabé Bio Seko, sales manager of the National Society for Agricultural Production (Sonapra), the public company in charge of cotton sector in Benin, said in the months of June-July it was not raining when cotton growers were waiting for rain, while it rained more than five times since December causing problems for the ginners.
Sekongo O. Korhogo from Ivory Coast said when it does not rain during the cotton planting period, more pesticides are needed to deal with pests, which adds to the input costs of the farmers. 
Synergizing regional actions in sensitizing governments and populations on climate change and its consequences, monitoring climate and meteorological data, and sowing of cotton varieties that have adapted to climate change were some of the possible solutions considered at the conference to cope with climate change.

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