Angola to Begin Producing Cotton: ICAC’s Townsend Comments
Within a decade, ICAC Secretariat predicts Africa will annually produce 2 million tons of cotton; Angola to contribute to that number.
January 30, 2013
Hanil Angola Engineering and the Angolan National Private Investment Agency (ANIP) signed a contract making it possible to start producing cotton in the Kwanza Sul province.
Hanil Engineering, a subsidiary of South Korea’s Hanil Engineering and Construction, specializes in maintaining and assembling irrigation equipment. This equipment is paramount to Angola’s success in the industry. The purchase of Hanil’s products was made possible thanks to a loan from the Export/Import Bank of South Korea for the amount of $31.4 million, part of which will be used to build an irrigation system covering 5,000 hectars of Kwanza Sul.
Terry Townsend, executive director of the International Cotton Advisory Committee, comments on the move, saying, “During the Portuguese Colonial period, Angola produced about 30,000 tons of cotton, but production during recent decades has been almost nil. The Government of Angola has an interest in reviving cotton production as an engine of development in rural areas, and Angola has areas where cotton could potentially be grown.”
Townsend adds, however, that Angolais unlikely to become a top producer of cotton any time soon. “The upper bound on potential production for that amount of irrigated land would be around 5,000 tons of cotton lint,” he explains.
Nevertheless, he emphasizes that Africa as a whole has great agronomic potential to increase yields and expand area -- the caveat being that the area is dependent on improvements in the general economic situation, which is necessary so the government can focus spending on research, education, and rural infrastructure such as roads and storage facilities. “The ICAC Secretariat forecasts that production in Africa will return to 2 million tons by the end of this decade, a volume not seen in more than five years,” Townsend says. Angola’s irrigation system may just be a drop in the bucket towards that number, but it is a step in the right direction.