A recent report from Ministry of agriculture in Malawi shows that Malawi is going to harvest a lot of cotton this year.
According to National Agricultural Production Estimates Survey (APES), favourable weather, good market arrangements, seed availability as well as massive promotional campaigns will raise this year’s cotton production from 25,331 metric tons to 52,389 metric tons.
Commenting on the development, economic expert Ben Kalua said cotton can replace tobacco, which is facing opposing force of global anti-smoking lobby as the largest foreign exchange earner if industrialization is to be embraced.
“The government needs to formulate strategies that can allow cotton production to increase and necessitates an increase in returns from the commodity. There are two things to be dealt with to increase demand of the product through creation of factories responsible for turning cotton into finished products that can later be exported as well as encouraging farmers to venture into cotton farming hence increasing levels of production”, said kalua.
Furthermore, Kalua underscored that industrialization can stimulate job creation thereby improving livelihood of Malawians as well as national economy at large.
Cosmas Luwanda, Chief executive officer of Cotton Council of Malawi (CCM), said they are set to introduce measures aimed at intensifying cotton production and productivity of the seed thus reducing dependence on imported cotton seed as well as the cost of the seed.
We are set to provide farmers with high quality cotton seeds that are resistant to pests and climate change. Additional auxiliary measures include establishment of sustainable cotton input supply system to ensure that cotton growers have access to high quality inputs in good time every growing season,” Luwanda said.
This measure strategies to be adopted by cotton of Malawi will reduce spending levels of farmers in a bid to sustain the crop in the field as the improved cotton seed varieties will be resistant to pests thus cutting pesticides costs.
In addition, this will also revolutionize cotton farming as the crop will be highly profitable due to reduced costs and better set buying price.
Among others, Luwanda said the council has pegged the buying price of cotton at a good price per Kilogram as opposed to last year’s buying price.
However, Ministry of agriculture through its spokesperson Priscilla Mateyu has assured farmers of continued better buying price of cotton saying government is on the drive to revive cotton industry as an alternative to tobacco industry that is experiencing exogenous shocks emanating from the global anti-smoking lobby.
“We have put in place resolutions that will help boost cotton industry. We will ensure that farmers are offered better prices to sell their cotton this will act as an incentive to cotton growers and traditional non- growing industry,” said Mateyu.
The report also highlights that general crop production and productivity in Malawi is likely to increase, this include an increase in maize production, rice production, fisheries production as well as production of horticulture crops a basis for economic growth.
Malawi highly depends on tobacco as a main source of foreign exchange in the country. However, the revenue from tobacco continues going down due to global campaign of anti-smoking lobby. Enditem