Malawi is set to capitalise on dwindling cotton production next year as global production will fall by 12 percent to 23.1 million metric tonnes (MT).
According to a report by the Washington-based International Cotton Advisory Committee, the fall is due to reduced planting, unfavourable weather and pests in major producing countries such as China.
The report says cotton reserves are also expected to fall by 6 percent to 20.7 million MT, which represents about 85 percent of the volume needed for world mill use in 2015/16 with stocks in China projected to be just less than 12 million MT at the end of 2015/16.
While stocks outside China are forecast down by four percent to 8.7 million MT.
Falling global cotton production has excited the Cotton Farmers Association of Malawi (Cofam) who have said they will intensify cotton farming this season to capitalise on the dwindling global supply.
Cofam believes a good harvest next year would revamp the ailing sector as prices are projected to be better than this year.
Cofam president George Nnesa told Business News that cotton farmers will be encouraged to produce more this season as demand will be high for cotton next year.
He said they will also be encouraged by prospects of better prices, which buyers in the sector have since pledged to offer.
“For a long time, farmers have been failing to produce more mainly because of poor prices on the market, challenges faced in accessing inputs and pests.
“We largely rely on loans to make our farming work, but we have always been let down by the poor prices on the market,” he said.
Malawi cotton industry has been marred by a declining cotton output due to lack of motivation for farmers to continue growing the crop.
Cotton Council of Malawi chairperson Patrick Khembo, briefing journalists in Blantyre last month, said the council will work with the Ministry of Agriculture, Irrigation and Water Development to address challenges impeding the country’s potential to grow and produce more cotton.
During the 2012/13 season, Malawi produced a record 100 000 MT of cotton before output fell to 45 000 MT in 2014.
The output this year slightly increased to 49 000 MT.
Cotton, which is the country’s largest export earner after tobacco, sugar and tea, generates an estimated K5 billion (about $7.6million) annually. n