The African Institute of Corporate Citizenship (AICC) has called on government to inject $300 million (about K2.2 billion) in the cotton industry if the sector is to be revamped.
AICC chief executive office Felix Lombe said if this money can be injected in the next three years, the sector could generate over $1 billion (about K730 billion) in the next five years.
Lombe said this on Monday during the cotton annual stakeholders conference in Blantyre.
The development follows the continued dwindling levels of cotton production in the recent years.
Cotton production has been fluctuating from 20 000 metric tonnes (MT) to 100 000 MT between 2003/04 and 2015/16 growing seasons due to fluctuation in number of growers, cultivated area and yields.
Last year, output for the crop dropped by a third to 15 000 metric tonnes relative to the prior year due to dry spells among other key factors.
“Looking at the trends in the cotton industry, it is clear that we are really stuck, but cotton remains a strategic crop in Malawi.
“What we are also looking for is an injection of $300 million from government for the next three years. It might look like a huge amount but the benefits are enormous. We are calculating that in the next five years cotton can bring on board $1billion,”he said.
On his part, Cotton Farmers Association of Malawi (Cofam) president, George Mnesa, noted that lack of coordination has cost the sector.
Cotton Council Malawi (CCM) board chairperson, Patrick Khembo, in his remarks said success of cotton depends on farmer coordination and organisation.
Cotton, largely grown by smallholder farmers in Chikwawa, Nsanje and some lakeshore areas, is estimated to be grown on 80 000 hectares in Malawi and is Malawi’s fourth export earner after tobacco, tea and sugarcane.