BAMAKO (Reuters) – Mali’s raw cotton production for the 2013/14 season will reach around 436,600 tonnes, down from 450,000 tonnes last year and well below an initial forecast, the West African nation’s cotton company CMDT said.
The Malian cotton season opens in April, with harvesting from May to November and a marketing phase that runs from November to March 31.
“Harvesting is over. Purchasing is very advanced. Up to February 16 the amount bought from farmers and transported to cotton gins was 350,165 tonnes,” Ousmane N. Traore, CMDT’s technical adviser on production, said late on Wednesday.
“National production is estimated at 436,600 tonnes, according to the latest official forecasts. This figure is close to the final output figure,” he said.
Mali announced a production forecast of 522,000 tonnes of cotton at the start of the season. Traore said poor rainfall had subsequently lowered yields.
Mali exported 187,000 tonnes of ginned cotton in 2012 with more than 51 percent of exports destined for China and 32 percent for Malaysia, according to government statistics.
West Africa once represented about 15 percent of the world’s cotton exports, analysts say. It was hit hard by a market crash in the early 2000s, which West African states blamed on subsidies in competing growers such as the United States.