The Africa Cotton Market is expected to register a CAGR of 3.5% in the Forecast period (2020-2025). Benin, Mali, Burkina Faso, Ivory Coast are the highest cotton-producing countries in Africa and account for about 50% of the region's produce. Africa exported 975306 tons of cotton lint in 2017, major importers of African cotton are Bangladesh, Vietnam, China, and Malaysia. Cotton grows well in a warm and moist climate where summer is long and where there is salinity in the soil, this makes Sub-Saharan Africa one of the largest cotton producers worldwide. In Africa, cotton is almost exclusively grown by smallholder farmers, and there are only very few large plantations. Cotton in Africa has grown alternately with other crops such as the basic food crops maize, soy or groundnuts, which reduces leaching of soils and the occurrence of pests. One of the principal organizations offering global cotton production standards is the Better Cotton Initiative (BCI). BCI is bringing an integrated approach to tackling the vulnerabilities of the complex supply chain to ensure the industry’s sustainability in the region.
Key Market Trends
Increasing Demand for Natural Fibres
The word 'natural' is very common to hear these days. There are numerous advantages of including natural products in daily routine. When it comes to clothing, cotton, jute, silk, kapok, hemp or wool are considered as natural fibre. Cotton is the world's most widely used natural fibre and the undisputed monarch of the global textiles industry to date. Although synthetic fibres are known for better durability and cheaper manufacturing, they are acquired from fossil fuels and other chemicals, the process of extracting which impacts the environment detrimentally. Thus, there is rising popularity of going back to good old natural fibres like cotton, which is not only a great absorbent natural fibre but also is hypoallergenic, making it a suitable choice for those with sensitive skin. Cotton is all-natural, making for a comfortable and breathable fabric year-round.
The increasing consumption of natural fibres, such as cotton in the textile industry will drive the African cotton market during the forecast period.
West Africa Dominates Production in the Region
West Africa (WA) comprises of twelve cotton-producing countries, namely Benin, Burkina Faso, Cameroon, Central African Republic, Chad, Côte d’Ivoire, Ghana, Mali, Niger, Nigeria, Senegal, and Togo. In 2018, The Foreign Agricultural Service of the USDA reported that of the twelve nations, Mali and Burkina Faso are the largest producers and are forecast to have record crops amid expanding area. WA accounts for more than three-fourths of Africa’s cotton exports. Nearly all of the West African cotton is exported, as mills are relatively sparse within the region, signifying the pivotal role that foreign demand plays for West African producers. It is due to the robust growth in consumption in the South and Southeast Asian regions, that they are the major importers of West African cotton. Cotton production is usually practised through a chemically intensive production system that has a negative effect on human and environmental health. In Western Africa, initiatives are being taken to increase organic cotton production that offers a safer and more profitable alternative, with up to two to three times more profit and safe, biological forms of pest control and soil fertilisation. This is expected to increase the demand for Western African cotton in the forecast period.
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