The decision taken by the cotton stakeholder in Tanzania in association with the Tanzanian Cotton Board to perk up the cotton cultivation in the country is worth applauding. Cotton production in the country is by and large characterized by low output and inferior quality. Moreover, lack of up gradation and resourceful supportive infrastructure too are responsible for the drop in production.
All the above factors together with barriers like zero access to financial facilities have forced the cotton cultivators to switch to production of other cash crops. As of now, around five lakh farmers in 13 regions of the country are involved in cotton production, but then the estimates show that, still other five lakh hectares of land in the country where cotton cultivation can be taken on, is lying idle.
Tanzania, which stands to be the fifth largest producer of cotton in Africa, has good prospects of cashing in on the heavy demand for cotton in the world markets. The Board here stated that, the crop brought in around $83 million to the country’s economy by way of revenues during 2008-09, and thus stood to be the second largest foreign exchange earner during the period.
Thus, it is important that the cotton industry should also be revived simultaneously with the textile sector. Around 85 percent of the Tanzania’s cotton produce is exported to Asian nations, whereas countries like India, Pakistan and China are importing readymade garments to the country in bulk, which is detrimental to the interest of the domestic textile mills in Tanzania.
An active cotton industry would help Tanzania to reap the benefit from the US Africa Growth and Opportunity Act (AGOA) and also to boost the foreign exchange earnings from textile exports.