Mali: the price of a kilo of cotton is lowered to 200 CFA francs, much to the displeasure of the sector

Stake: Measuring the impact of the drop in cotton prices on the Malian sector
Expected by the actors of the Malian cotton sector, the annual price-fixing meeting finally fixed at 200 CFA francs ($0.33) the value of the kilogram for the 2020/2021 campaign. This is a 27% drop compared to the price of the previous season (275 CFA francs) and a major blow to producers, who are thus suffering from the drastic drop in cotton prices, the lowest since 2009.

This price contraction is largely due to the Covid-19 pandemic which, in addition to disrupting value chains, could reduce world demand by 12% in 2020, according to estimates by the International Cotton Advisory Committee. Quoted in the local media, Baba Berthé, the head of the Compagnie Malienne pour le Développement des Textiles (CMDT) – the public company that runs the entire Malian white gold industry – justified the new price of 200 CFA francs by noting that « between April 2019 and April 2020, the price of cotton fibre lost a lot.  In conclusion, « we have made our projections which give us 200 FCFA. This is the basic price that the world market offers us today ».

The Minister of Agriculture, Baba Moulaye Haïdara, for his part, wanted to reassure, recalling that his « supervisory department [was] working hard to find the best solutions that could lead to a very good campaign. In particular, he confirmed that the government was going to maintain its 10 billion CFA franc subsidy to cotton growers, with the envisaged system consisting of offering a sort of bonus proportional to the production of each farmer. « On the selling price per kilo of seed cotton, there will be a bonus of 15 CFA francs. Each farmer who sells a certain quantity will be evaluated by the unit of measurement, » the minister said. However, it is not certain that this will encourage farmers to maintain their production level. In the wake of the announcement of the new price, several local newspapers have reported on desperate farmers who were considering abandoning cotton cultivation this year. This inclination could have serious consequences: the cotton sector, which accounts for 8% of Mali’s GDP, provides a livelihood for nearly 5 million nationals out of a total population of 19 million people.

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