Cotton stakeholders look to increase production

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Stakeholders in the Cotton industry are banging heads in Salima on how they can improve the dwindling cotton production in the country with special focus on biotech system.

Chairperson of the Cotton Council of Malawi Patrick Khembo said there is need to deal with challenges the cotton industry is facing in order to increase production.

Malawi Cotton

Stakeholders eye increase in cotton production.

Describing the challenges that have hit the industry, Khembo pointed out pests, diseases, weather condition and access to credit facility as having contributed to the low production levels.

He then suggested that it is good to increase yield per unit area in order to prevent farmers’ struggle with the pests.

“We need to increase yield per unit area. Currently we are producing between 700 to 900kgs of cotton per hectares when the potential is well above 3000kgs,” he said.

Khembo explained that until such a time that when the farmers are able to produce at least 1500kgs, most farmers will struggle to make a living out of cotton even if prices are good.

The chairperson further said that trials are in progress in various sites across the country on the use of biotech cotton which has proved a success in other countries.

Bearing testimony for need to adopt biotech cotton, a farmer from India Mr V. Ravichandran said since he started biotech cotton in 2004, issues of pests have been addressed and his yield improved significantly.

According to the National Commission for Science Technology, trials that have been done have also proved the biotech system is the solution to pest control.

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