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Cotton production, consumption & trade report

May '07
Benin Production:
Benin has faced two difficult cotton campaigns that have exposed the fragility of the sector's progress towards privatization. The past two cotton campaigns have produced disappointing harvests with repercussions felt throughout the economy and in the government.

After a disastrous harvest in 2005/06, Benin is only expected to produce about 240,000 MT of seed cotton in 2006/07 despite pre-season hopes to reach nearly 500,000 MT. The primary problem in recent years has been the lack of timely and effective distribution of inputs and disputes over seed cotton prices.

Late planting and the diversion of fertilizers has placed significant pressure on yields in recent years. Severe pest problems followed the pesticide distribution problems contributing to significant yield losses in 2006. In an attempt to prevent further crisis in the sector, the Government of Benin and Ministry of Agriculture is now playing a stronger role.

Due to a failure for producers and ginners to agree upon a price in the AIC, the GOB intervened and set the price at 175 CFA/kg in 2006. This price level, which was the highest in the region, has placed additional financial pressure on the public and private ginners. For the 2007/08 campaign, SONAPRA, the state-owned cotton company was awarded the right to import fertilizer and pesticide inputs.

In 2007/08 production is expected to rebound somewhat due to an anticipated increase in area and yield (area and yield are still forecast well below potential due to continuing problems in the sector).

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