Ethiopian textile industry aided by the availability of a skilled and highly motivated workforce is undergoing major development. This surge has been helped by the country's impressive economic growth over the past years. The country determined to expand and develop cotton plantation and apparel industries in order to realize the national economic development ambition. This can also help the country to benefit from the growing international market since the major target of the government for the industry is the export market.
Last week, Ethiopian Textile Industry Development Institute (ETIDI) presented the 2015/16 first half year cotton development and textile industry performance evaluation for stakeholders. The evaluation shows that during the 2015 production year, it was not managed to meet planned cotton production. During the same production year, the planned land for cotton production was 262,000 hectares but the actual land covered was only 65,000 hectares.
Due to the El Nion, more than 14,000 hectares of cotton cultivation were damaged and replanted with other short term crops to overcome the effects of the drought. A total of 65,000 hectares were reserved from sugar to cotton production. Besides, other areas with potential for cotton cultivation such as Shinile, Wabe-shebele, Genale Basin are also under consideration for cotton development while a total of 43,000 tone lint cotton is expected in the coming year.
The other major challenge faced by the country producing cotton is, the holding of land without commencing production for a long time. Around 100,000 hectares of land were held by investors for 10 years without commencing production.
Other challenges associated with cotton production is the dalliance of cotton purchase by the Ethiopian Industrial Inputs Development Enterprise from producers. Also, the unwise use of loan (loan taken for cotton production is utilized for other purposes) is other big challenge. Out of 200 farms loan given for cotton production during 2015, only 40-50 percent are used in cotton production and the rest are misused loan.
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