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Cotton imports 2007-08 forecast to rise slightly

May '07
Faced with eroding competitiveness in global markets and higher returns from other crops in Egypt, in 2007/08 cotton area and production are forecast to fall 13 and 10 percent, respectively. With expectations for lower production, exports are forecast to fall about 8 percent in 2007/08. Growth in the local textile sector is still sluggish, and imports and use are forecast to grow only marginally.

Area Planted and Production:
Total cotton area in 2007/2008 is forecast to be 214,000 HA, compared to 246,000 HA in 2006/2007. Area continues to decline as quality of ELS has been eroded due to mixing ELS seed varieties (especially Giza70), resulting in lower export prices and less attractive returns. Price increases for local corn and rice, coupled with the decreases in cotton prices, have led farmers to replace cotton, particularly in Upper Egypt.

In 2007/2008, approximately 20 percent of the total cotton crop is expected to be extra long staple (ELS) varieties (staple lengths of 1 3/8 inches and above), a 6 percent decrease from the 2006/2007 level. This is mainly due to the decreased demand for ELS cotton varieties by the export market. Major ELS varieties are Giza 45, Giza 87 and Giza 88.

The remainder of the crop is comprised of long staple (LS) varieties (staple lengths of 1/4 inches): Giza 80, Giza 83, Giza 85, Giza 86, Giza 89 and Giza 90. Every year the government specifies certain varieties of cotton for each growing region, and farmers are obligated to cultivate those varieties according to their respective areas.

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