Tanzania made about US$ 81.52 million in cotton exports during 2012.
As compared to previous year’s output of 255,000 tons, Tanzania produced 355,000 tons of cotton during 2012-13, 80 percent of which was shipped to Asia, Mr. Gabriel Mwalo, Ag Director General of the Tanzania Cotton Board (TCB) told East African Business Week.
The increase in cotton output is mainly attributable to rise in world cotton prices and the Government’s efforts to encourage farmers by providing subsidies, he said.
However, there are high variations in crop output as cotton production is mainly undertaken by small farmers holding around 0.5-10 acres, averaging to 1.5 acres, who mainly rely on manual work and rain-fed irrigation, he added.
Presently, around 400,000-500,000 hectares of area in the country is under cotton production, Mr. Mwalo said.
He said sub-standard inputs coupled with the dependence of farmers on rain and manual work are some of the key challenges confronting the sector.
Being a key employment generating sector, the Tanzanian cotton industry provides livelihood to about 500,000 rural people.