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Egypt plans to double cotton production for better export opportunities

In an effort to revive the Egypt’s rewarding cotton industry that can help its stagnant economy, the farmers enlarge the area planted with cotton. Farmers at Fayoum province, some 100 km south of Cairo, cultivated one feddan (1 feddan=1.038 acres) of land with the finest long-staple cotton (known in Egypt as Giza 95). He will double his cotton field next year.

The farmers said that the ministry of agriculture helps them by providing subsided seeds and fertilizers necessary for the treatment of the plants to get high-quality cotton.

Cultivating one feddan of long-staple cotton costs around 10,000 Egyptian pounds (568 U.S. dollars) Cotton prices this year are good and hence they can earn good money this season.

Egyptian cotton is an extraordinary commodity that has played an important and vital role in Egypt’s economic, social, and political history during the past two centuries.

Egypt’s unique climate and fertile soil are ideal for cotton cultivation. From the early 1800s up to the present, Egyptian cotton has always been synonymous with luxury and quality.

After the popular revolution in January 2011, cotton industry has witnessed recession due to the lack of government care, which caused a quality degradation of Egypt’s most famous crop.

However, the government has set plans to restore the important sector by doubling the production of high-quality cotton after years of suffering.
Hassan Gouda, deputy minister of agriculture in Fayoum, said that the government has a plan to plant half a million feddans with cotton by 2019, which means doubling the areas planted with cotton.

Egypt is back on track to be the world’s leading cotton producer, adding that the ministry has set plans to double the cotton fields in Fayoum, the second largest producer of cotton in Egypt after Kafr al-Sheikh province in Delta. The total area planted with cotton in Fayoum is 13,092 feddans, this will definitely be doubled by 2019.

According to the Egyptian official, the total area planted with cotton across the country this year is 220,000 feddans. Last year only 130,000 were cultivated with cotton.

The average yield per feddan of cotton in Fayoum is 8 to 11 kantars known as qintar, a kantar equals to either 157 kilograms of seed cotton or 50 kilograms of lint cotton) per feddan, pointing out that the government has set a guaranteed price of 2,100 Egyptian pounds per kantar.

Prices at local market range from 2500 to 2700 pounds per kantar. The government has set the price to ensure that farmers will not sell at lower prices; the price could increase.

In an attempt to encourage farmers to plant cotton, the government has decided to subsidize 300 pounds per kantar for farmers whose produce exceeds 10 kantars.

In July, the agriculture ministry announced it targets 1.4 million kantars of long-staple cotton to be exported, compared to 700,000 kantars last year.

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