Malawi is said to be missing out on cotton production and productivity opportunities by not joining the International Cotton Advisory Committee (Icac).
The revelation comes against the backdrop of the expected visit this month by a delegation from Icac led by its director Kai Hughes to appreciate the country’s cotton sector landscape.
Speaking to journalists in Lilongwe on Monday, African Institute of Corporate Citizenship (Aicc) chief executive officer Felix Lombe said the delegation will advocate for Malawi to join the Icac.
He said Icac delegation visit signifies the strategic role Malawi has been playing in as far as cotton issues are concerned.
The visit, according to Aicc, also means that the cotton world body has seen how much Malawi has been contributing in the production and marketing of cotton, including other value addition processes.
Said Lombe: “If we join Icac, we will be in a position to tap into what is known as common fund. Currently, Malawi has not been able to tap into that fund as a non-member.
“The common fund is the fund that all Icac members tap into to use for different cotton development initiatives.”
He said when a country is an Icac member, there are huge opportunities on sharing topical research areas and technical expertise on cotton.
Cotton Council of Malawi executive director Cosmas Luwanda said Malawi needs to join Icac to benefit from expertise given the current low cotton productivity.
“Over the past 10 years, we have on average managed to produce 40 000 metric tonnes of seed cotton annually which is too low.
“Our current demand for seed cotton based on the existing ginning capacity is hovering around 600 000 metric tonnes annually,” he said.
Luwanda said some of the factors affecting cotton production are poor seed that gives low yields of about 500 kilogrammes (kg) per hectare.
Icac is an intergovernmental body composed of cotton producing, consuming and trading countries.
Icac is a body that champions world cotton production, trade, consumption, stocks and prices. n