Thu, 08 Jun 2017 11:19 - Updated Wed, 07 Jun 2017 20:42
First cotton harvesting season
Luanda - The first cotton harvesting season is set for July this year in the provinces of Malanje and Cuanza Sul, as part of the Cotton Production Relaunch Programme.
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The amounts are insignificant, but they count for their symbolic value. In Cuanza Sul, 200 tons are expected to be harvested, while in Malanje it will not exceed 42 tons.
Cotton is being grown over a total area of 242 hectares. This means that each hectare of land yields a ton of seed cotton. Ten tons of seed were sown last February , under a move by the Ministry of Agriculture.
The agricultural sector is beginning to take the first steps in the implementation of the Cotton Production Relaunch Programme, taking into account the amounts of cotton that the three textile industries in the country need.
The coordinator of the Cotton Production Programme of the Ministry of Agriculture, Carlos Canza, reveals that the action has the involvement of a farmers' cooperative in Malanje province and the company "Africa Sementes".
For the next agricultural season, more farmers and entrepreneurs are to be mobilised.
With 10 tons of seeds, he explained, it is possible to produce only about 500 tons of seed cotton for each agricultural season.
Production is only one ton per hectare, which is insufficient to meet the needs of the textile industry in the country.
For the next 2017/2018 agricultural season , estimated at about Akz 530 million, the Agriculture sector plans to harvest in the provinces of Malanje and Cuanza Sul 1,500 tons of cotton out of an area of 1,500 hectares.
In order to achieve this, 30 tons of seeds were acquired for the season starting in February 2018.
"The agricultural sector also plans to cultivate 10,000 hectares of land with the drip irrigation system in the Capanda Agro-industrial Complex (Malanje), to be implemented in the near future by a Japanese company," said Carlos Canza.
This project aims to harvest 50,000 tons of seed cotton in each agricultural period, with an estimated yield of five tons per hectare, which will help respond to industrial demand.
In the private sector, the agronomist also highlighted the company "Africa Sementes", which has contributed, since 2010, an annual average of two thousand tons of cotton, which were previously exported when the textile industries in the country were inoperative.
When the perimeter comes into full operation, a harvest of two tons per hectare is estimated, making a total of 5, 648 tons of cotton per harvest.
The construction of this Cuanza Sul irrigated perimeter began in 2007. The cotton growing project is valued at US 67 million, under a joint financing agreement between the Angolan and South Korean governments.
Regarding the availability of arable land for cotton production, the expert said that it depends to a great extent on the capacity and interest of the producers, as the country has a lot of arable land.
As an example, Carlos Canza recalled that in the colonial period, about 91,000 hectares of land were cultivated for the production of cotton, in the provinces traditionally known as suitable for this raw material.
History of cotton production
Cotton production in Angola dates back to 1926. Until 1961, the annual harvest did not exceed 10,000 tons of cotton fibre.
After 1961, the picture changed significantly. In 1968, cotton production expanded dramatically, rising from 15,243 tons to the peak of 31,817 tons in 1971.
The data also indicate that Angola was already considered one of the largest cotton producers in the world in 1973, reaching a figure of around 86,000 tons.
After independence, in 1975, cotton production declined dramatically as a result of the armed conflict that plagued the country.
Although the Angolan Government is committed to the Cotton Production Relaunch Programme and the restoring of the value chain of its culture, production levels remain low.
Situation of the textile industry in the country
According to Carlos Canza, the revitalisation of the cotton value chain started upstream with the rehabilitation and modernisation of the three textile factories, namely Textangue II (Luanda), Satec (Cuanza Norte) and Textile Africa Têxtil (Benguela), which are engaged in spinning , weaving and sewing, respectively.
The three manufacturing plants, he said, will need more than 24,000 tons of cotton fibre annually, a need that will require greater engagement and investment in production, as well as implementation of more ginning and cotton milling plants.
At present, these factories are operating at half-swing, as they depend essentially on imported raw materials, a situation which, should have been foreseen.
With the recovery of these plants, he said, it is necessary to invest in the installation of more cotton ginning and milling plants to reinforce the revitalisation of the productive sector in the country.
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