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West Africa to comprise 12 cotton-producing countries to boost exports

Cotton exports from West Africa (WA) for 2018-19 are projected to surpass last year’s record, driven by record production, according to the US Department of Agriculture (USDA).

Record cotton production to drive West African exports
Figure 1: Record cotton production to drive WA exports.

WA comprises 12 cotton-producing countries, namely Benin, Burkina Faso, Cameroon, Central African Republic, Chad, Côte d’Ivoire, Ghana, Mali, Niger, Nigeria, Senegal, and Togo.

Of the 12 nations, Mali and Burkina Faso are the largest producers and are forecast to have record crops amid expanding area, the Foreign Agricultural Service of the USDA said in its monthly report ‘Cotton: World Markets and Trade’.

Mali and Burkina Faso drive record WA exports
Figure 2: Mali and Burkina Faso drive record WA exports. Courtesy: USDA

The report said that, WA accounts for more than three-fourths of Africa’s cotton exports. Nearly all of the West African cotton is exported, as mills are sparse within the region, signifying the pivotal role that foreign demand plays for West African producers and merchants.

South and Southeast Asia are the predominant destinations for West African cotton. It is due to the robust growth in consumption in these Asian regions. Bangladesh, the world’s largest importer, has recently determined for greater supplies from WA over Central Asian origin.

Cotton production and exports in WA
Figure 3: Cotton production and exports in WA. Courtesy: USDA

According to the report, record exports in the midst of record global use in 2018-19 will emphasize the importance of cotton as a vital cash crop for farmers and a prominent source of foreign currency for WA countries.

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