EGYPT AIMS TO DOUBLE ITS HIGH-QUALITY COTTON PRODUCTION AND EXPORT

CAIRO, Egypt, Egypt aims to double production of its most famous export, the silky soft cotton, once known as “white gold,” after a period of slumping output, an Agriculture Ministry spokesman said.

Hamed Abdel-Dayem said, production should rise to 1.4 million qintar (160 kg) in the 2017-18 fiscal year, that started in July, from 700,000 qintar a year earlier. All the cotton will be exported.

The government aims to increase the price of the long staple cotton to more than 3,000 Egyptian pounds ($168.07) per qintar, which will all be exported, the spokesman said.

Egypt’s sunny skies and superior seed help it grow a cotton known for unusually long fibres that produce a light durable fabric with an attractive sheen and soft touch.

Long-staple sells at 155 U.S. cents per lb, about twice the price of common short-staple cotton.

Its return to world markets could provide a lucrative export opportunity at a time when Egypt has a huge trade deficit and is seeking to relaunch its stagnant economy.

In 2016, Egypt banned all but the highest quality cotton seed, dramatically shrinking the area under cultivation but restoring quality, in a bid to save its historic crop.

This year Egypt grew about 220,000 acres (89,000 hectares) of long-staple cotton, compared with 130,000 acres (52,600 hectares) in 2016-2107, Abdel-Dayem said.

Source: NAM NEWS NETWORK