Rise in world consumption of cotton to boost local cotton industry in Zimbabwe

YarnsandFibers News Bureau 2014-08-18 17:00:00 – Zimbabwe

The increase in world consumption of cotton likely to bring revival in the Zimbabwean cotton industry as the cotton farmers are expected to benefit from the anticipated world demand since the development is set to boost the current cotton prices.

According to the International Cotton Advisory Committee (Icac) an association of governments of cotton producing, consuming and trading countries, with polyester and cotton prices converging, world consumption of cotton is forecast to increase by 5% to 24,5 million tonnes in 2014/15.

Zimbabwe Farmers' Union second vice-president Berean Mukwende is of the view that if the demand increases the price of cotton will move up which means farmers are going to benefit. Also, the increase in world consumption of cotton will help revive the industry in Zimbabwe.

The cotton prices currently range between US$0,50 to US$0,80 cents per kg and if the demand for cotton worldwide continued to grow, production would increase and this would boost the economy.

However, there is a need to introduce better technology to improve yields and the varieties as current yields are very low as compared to other countries.

According to Icac, after international cotton prices spiked in 2010/11, many spinners decreased the share of cotton in yarn in favour of greater use of polyester. At the start of 2013, the gap between cotton and polyester prices widened.

While polyester prices remained fairly stable at around US$0,74 to US$0,76 per pound for most of 2013 and 2014 until dropping to US$0,65 per pound in April of this year.

During the same period, international cotton prices climbed higher, reaching US$0,99 per pound at their peak. But in July 2014, the situation changed significantly with the Cotlook A index declining to US$0,80 while polyester climbed back up to around US$0,73 per pound.

The price of cotton in China had also dropped to US$1,26 per pound from US$1,41 during most of 2013/14.

World consumption of cotton which is projected to increase in 2014-2015 with polyester and cotton prices converging. The increase in demand will turn out to be a boon for the local cotton industry that has been hamstrung by funding challenges affecting production and also due to unviable prices which buyers blamed for the decline in international prices.

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