At a time when cotton production is dwindling, the Cotton Council of Malawi (CCM) says it is working on a strategy to revamp the cotton sector to ensure the crop reclaims its position to significantly contribute to economic growth.
In the Cotton Subsector Strategy, the council plans on introducing high yielding cotton varieties, working with the government to strengthen cotton extension services and ensuring effective pests and disease management.
CCM executive director Cosmas Luwanda told Business News that the council will be scaling up new varieties that will produce 5 000 kilogrammes (kg) per hectare as compared to current varieties which give a mere 500 kg per hectare.
He said in recent years, Malawi has been producing about 15 000 metric tonnes (MT) of cotton that has been raking in about K10 billion annually, adding this is despite the country having annual ginning capacity of 600 000 MT.
Said Luwanda: “We have varieties released recently in 2017 that yield up to 5 000 kg per hectare which is around 50 cotton bales of 100 kg each. This will really change farmers’ life, we are going to promote varieties that are going to give us the right yields and right production.”
In an interview, African Institute for Corporate Citizenship (AICC) executive director Felix Lombe said revamping the cotton industry will contribute to the country’s economic growth.
This season, cotton is selling at K400 per kg, K25 above the set minimum price of K375 per kg.