Agriculture Ministry weighs benefits of growing American cotton

The Ministry of Agriculture is currently examining the possibility of growing some types of American short-staple cotton in Toshka and Sharq al-Owainat, Minister of Agriculture Amin Abaza said this week.

American short-staple cotton enjoys a relative advantage since it allows for mechanical harvests, as opposed to the Egyptian variant currently grown in Upper Egypt.

"The idea remains under examination," the minister said.

A recent report issued  by the state-run Agricultural Research Center (ARC) projected that the total surface area in Egypt sown with cotton would double in the coming season as a result of increasing international demand for cotton and rising global cotton prices.

The same study also predicted that land in Egypt sown with cotton would rise to between 550,000 and 650,000 feddans in the next harvest season as compared with approximately 371,000 feddans this season.

The report went on to warn against pressures exerted by local spinning and weaving companies to halt Egyptian cotton exports so that they could purchase cotton at less than international prices.  

The report noted, however, that there is yet no clear plan to develop spinning and weaving companies in order for them to be able to absorb the large quantities of high-quality cotton grown in Egypt.

The report attributed increasing cotton demand to the fact that some major cotton-producing countries had recently experienced natural disasters resulting in the closure of their respective export markets. 

Mohamed Abdel Hakeem, head of the Cotton Research Institute, said that cotton prices had increased this year, with prices for some varieties reaching as much as LE1350 per quintal. He blamed the price hikes on high local and international demand.

Abdel Hakeem went on to point out that the ARC had so far successfully managed to grow cotton in Sharq al-Owainat, Abu Simbel and Al-Nubaraeyyah.

Translated from the Arabic Edition.

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