Tanzania’s Cotton Industry Needs Government Support
Dropping international prices and lack of government subsidies to keep farmers interested in the natural fiber could cripple the industry, which employs about 40% of its overall population.
June 18, 2012
The cotton growing industry in Tanzania could shrink by 28% -- or even collapse completely – unless the government of Africa’s fifth-largest lint producer intervenes. Dropping international prices and lack of government subsidies to keep farmers interested in the natural fiber could cripple the industry, which employs nearly about 14 million people, about 40% of its overall population.
According to an article published on IPP Media, cotton prices dropped 20%, from 50 cents/lb to 40 cents/lb, between April and May of 2012. Growers want the government to guarantee a minimum price of about 45 cents/lb and threaten to abandon it as a crop if that minimum price is not guaranteed.
Ranking only behind Egypt, Nigeria, Burkina Faso and Benin as an African cotton producer, Tanzania’s 485,000 hectares are cultivated by half a million growers in the country’s northern, western and coastal regions. Signs of the exodus of growers from cotton production might already be showing, as rumors have surfaced that some of Tanzania’s top textile mills have temporarily have shut down their businesses due to the overall scarcity of cotton to spin.