September 23, 2010

Price of cotton shoots sharply

The local farmers have started to feel the positive impact on the sharp increase of cotton price at the world market. Locally, a kilo currently sells at 1,200/-, up from 600, thanks to a short supply of the crop at the world market. The Tanzania Cotton Board (TCB) has attributed the sharp price increase to bad weather in China - the world's leading grower and importer of cotton. The recent flash floods in Pakistan and India is also attributed to the increase. "This new price has set a record in the country. This has never happened before", TCB's Programme Coordinator, Mr Donald Sayi said. At the international market, the current price which is 33 per cent above the level that was recorded at the beginning of the year. Mr Sayi said that the dry spell that was experienced in the country between February and March this year also had its toll on cotton production.

"We failed to utilize fully the price boom as production at the end of August was around 190 metric tonnes," Mr Sayi said. TCB has projected for a production of 260 metric tonnes by the end of season next month. But the board expects production expects to double to about 500metric tonnes as farmers will be motivated by this season's price and the end of global financial crisis. "But I don't think the price will stick at current level. Might go down a bit low, though at encouraging level," Mr Sayi said. Cotton production also is expected to improve further following a good rain forecast in the Western Zone-Mwanza, Kagera, Mara, Shinyanga, Kigoma, Tabora and Singida.

The zone produces 97 per cent of the country's total output. The Eastern Zone which comprises Morogoro, Kilimanjaro, Manyara and Coast regions, produces three per cent. However, experts wonder why Morogoro has not been able to produce more taking into account its fertile soil and climate that is suitable for the crop. Mr Sayi said that a merchant, Afrisian, has agreed to purchase all cotton in Morogoro in the next three years as a move to encourage farmers to increase production. According to Tanzania Gatsby Trust (TGT), to date almost 40 per cent of the country's population depends on cotton although over 70 per cent of the crop is exported. (Tanzania Daily News)

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