Projection for cotton production in Mozambique unchanged despite smuggling to neighbouring countries

9 February 2010

Maputo, Mozambique, 9 Feb – Around 5,000 tonnes of raw cotton produced in Mozambique in the 2008/09 season was smuggled in areas bordering neighbouring countries, particularly Zimbabwe, the Mozambican Cotton Institute said (IAM).

During a meeting held in Maputo, the IAM official said that production in the last season had totalled 65,000 tonnes but that sales had not exceeded 60,000 tonnes, with the difference exported illegally to neighbouring countries, mainly Zimbabwe.

At the meeting, which was attended by cotton sector officials, such as the Mozambican Cotton Association and agri-chemical companies, with a view to summing up the season and preparing for 2009/2010, it was decided to keep the production estimate unchanged at 65,000 tonnes, as the constraints affecting the sector, such as competition from other sectors and unattractive prices, continue.

In Mozambique, there are around 12 companies whose main business is cotton, each of which represents an investment of at least US$5 million.

According to IAM, over 300,000 rural families, with an average of five members, grow cotton and thus the crop is a secure income for over 1.5 million people and, throughout its production chain, cotton is responsible for over 20,000 salaried jobs.

As well as making use of the fibre for textiles, cotton seed is nowadays the biggest domestic source of cooking oil in Mozambique, and sub-products from the seed are also used to produce soap and animal feed. (macauhub)