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Cotton industry crashing— Institute for Corporate Citizenship

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Africa Institute for Corporate Citizenship (AICC) has said that the Malawi cotton industry is on the verge of collapsing as witnessed by dwindling production levels and pulling out of ginners over the years.

Production of cotton in the country is decreasing every year at an average rate of five percent.

Statistics form AICC show that in 2011, the country produced 100,000 metric tonnes of cotton, which is higher when compared to the 15,000 metric tonnes produced this year.

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The trend has also reflected on the revenue Malawi gets from the crop, dropping from $49.3 million in 2012 to $1.4 million in 2016.

According to AICC Chief Executive Officer, Felix Lombe, the trend has been on the basis of lack of political will, lack of farmer organisation structures and improper input supply models.

He emphasised that it is pathetic for the country to remain with only two cotton ginners that are operational out of 11 ginners the country had previously.

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“As we speak, nine ginning companies have either closed or down-scaled their operations but it’s very worrisome looking at the contribution of the cotton industry to Malawi’s Gross Domestic Product.

“Cotton is grown by about 300,000 smallholder farmers on average, covering over 250,000 hectares, providing a source of employment to the farmers,” Lombe said.

The institute has since called on the government to introduce an input fund model that will allow farmers to borrow money from the fund and be able to produce at a profit.

Cotton is Malawi’s fourth largest foreign exchange earner after tobacco, tea and sugar.

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