The data furnished by Tom Jele, Chief Executive Officer of the Swaziland Cotton Board (SCB), depicts a depressing picture of the domestic cotton industry.
The time is not too far when the national statistics would report zero production levels, and this would come about; as cotton production is going down and farmers no more seem to be interested in cultivating cotton.
Jele precisely conveyed that, the strength of farmers cultivating cotton which in the late 1990s was 16,000 has declined and as of now there are just around 5,000 cultivators growing cotton. Also the area under cotton cultivation, in the same period which was 25,000 hectares has declined,+ and now merely 4,000 hectares of land is under cotton cultivation.
According to him, the optimum capacity of the ginneries in the country is 15,000 tonnes but the country till date has not been able to utilize it to its fullest. Highly priced raw materials, persistent droughts, global prices turning hostile, underprovided irrigational infrastructure, lack of modern technology, scarce financial support for extension officers, poor capacity utilization of ginnery and such other factors have been continuously bothering the farmers, he said.
He also drew attention to the fact that, the local farmers are persistently facing unfair competition in overseas markets, as the developed countries heavily subsidise their farmers with benefits. He thereby also appealed the ACTIF to come up with measures to aid the developing countries to bridge this gap. (can we replace this term with overcome these limitations)
He mentioned that they have set 2014 as the target year; by which, they intend to attain production levels of 10,800 tonnes of superior quality cotton and added that for the purpose they will seek assistance from all possible sources.
SCB aims at completely assimilating cotton production with that of economy's textile and apparel sectors, as also to find other means through which the industry could not only seek assistance, but also would grow to attain the production levels similar to the ones recorded during early 1980s to late 1990s, he stated.
He added by saying that between those periods, approximately 16,000 tons of cotton was produced, each year.
Fibre2fashion News Desk - India