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Friday, 12 April, 2002, 16:19 GMT 17:19 UK
West Africa cotton harvest soars
Cotton harvest
Higher prices and more rain helped boost crops
West African cotton producers, who traditionally account for about 10% of world exports, are expected to see a sharp rise in output this year according to a survey.

Their harvest has recovered from last year's poor crop and seems set to rise sharply this year, a Reuters survey of leading producers said.

The change in the producers' fortunes followed a slight recovery in global prices which convinced many farmers to revert to planting cotton instead of other crops on their land.

The weather has also been more favourable, especially at the time of sowing, and a series of disputes between farmers and cotton processors which disrupted last year's production have been resolved.

"It is better than last year at the same period thanks to good rainfall and upbeat farmers," said an official from the Malian Textile Development Company.

Regional strength

The joint output of Mali, Burkina Faso, Ivory Coast and Benin is expected to reach 1.7m tonnes in the year to September, up from 1.2m tonnes during the previous 12 months.

The leading West African cotton producer, Mali, is expected to almost double its output to 590,000 tonnes.

Benin's crop is set to rise from 360,000 to 411,000 tonnes, which is good news for the country given that cotton makes up 95% of its exports.

Burkina Faso's output should rise from 260,000 to 400,000 tonnes.

And the Ivory Coast's crop should reach 370,000 tonnes, up from 283,000 tonnes last year.

Smaller producers like Cameroon, Chad and Togo also expect healthy crops this year.

See also:

10 Apr 02 | Business
Africa aid flows dwindle
02 Apr 02 | South Asia
GM crops win new friends
01 Jun 01 | Business
Cotton industry faces tough times
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