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BURKINA FASO: 2015/16 Cotton Crop Outlook BRealistic, Says Ecobank

Burkina Faso’s target of a record 800,000-tonne cotton crop for the 2015/16 season is attainable despite low world prices and the threat of an El Nino weather phenomenon, Eco- bank said in a research note.

Output from sub-Saharan Africa’s largest producer rose 10 percent to 707,145 tonnes of raw cotton in the 2014/15 (around May February) season, only slightly lower than the 727,204-tonne record harvest of 2005/06.

Ecobank’s note was based on forecast for the coming season providedby the bukina’s Interprofessional Cotton Association (AICB) and published in local media.

“The AICB’s seed cotton production target of 800,000 MT a 13 per- cent increase from last year’s outturn is realistic, given government efforts to support a rise in production,” the note said.

Despite a 20 percent drop in world cotton prices over the past year, the AICB has raised the farmer price from 225 CFA francs ($0.3850) per kg last season to 235 CFA francs/kg for 2015/16.

The decision to raise the price aims to preserve the upward trend in output, Ecobank wrote, with the added cost to be offset elsewhere in the supply chain. The AICB is also cutting the price of fertilisers to help boost yields.

Burkina Faso is aiming increase the land used to plant cotton to nearly 740,000 hectares. Meanwhile it will reduce the amount of farmland planted with Bt cotton, a genetically modified strain that is meant to be more resistant to pests but has led to a drop in quality.

“The strength of output will depend heavily on the arrival of seasonal rains, as Burkina Faso’s cotton sector is entirely rain fed,” the note said. “The impending return of the El Nino weather phenomenon in late 2015 could bring drier weather to West Africa.”

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