Domestic demand for Egyptian cotton shrinks

A report issued Monday by the Central Agency for Public Mobilization and Statistics (CAPMAS) said that demand for Egyptian cotton by local manufacturers has dropped considerably, as imported cotton became much cheaper.

According to the report, manufacturers consumption of local cotton has dropped by almost 80 percent from 622,000 kantars of Egyptian cotton from March to May of last year to 134,000 kantars during the same period this year. (A kantar is the Egyptian unit for measuring cotton, it equals 157 kilograms of seed cotton or 50 kilograms of lint cotton.)

From March to May 2009, 447,000 kantars of imported cotton were used, as opposed to 53,000 last year, an increase of over 700 percent, according to the report. Meanwhile, Egyptian cotton exports dropped from 581,000 kantars last year to 96,000 kantars this year, a decline of almost 90 percent.

The report also said there are less private-sector factories treating the raw cotton, while the public-sector factories have not been modernized since 1994.

Former textiles chamber president Hamada el-Qalyoubi said local cotton cultivation has dropped drastically due to high harvesting costs, which can be as much as 50 percent of cotton cultivation expenses.

"Farmers will grow cotton if the government guaranteed to buy it for LE800 to LE900 per kantar," he el-Qalyoubi said.

Translated from the Arabic Edition.

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