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President Talon to restore Benin's cotton fortunes after huge drop in production

President Talon to restore Benin's cotton fortunes after huge drop in production

Benin

Benin’s President Patrice Talon is hopeful of restoring the country’s cotton sector after output declined by more than a third in the 2015-2016 season.

In an interview with French newspaper Le Monde, Talon said output by Africa’s third-largest cotton producer was 260,000 tonnes during the 2015-2016 season, compared with a drop from 394,000 tonnes in the previous season with the lack of fertilizers and pesticides being the main reason behind the drop.

Cotton is a major export for the tiny West African nation and contributes 40 percent of Benin’s foreign exchange earnings, 12 percent of GDP and about 60 percent of the national industrial fabric.

The exceptional environment in which the cotton sector is evolving (via a state-run system) has scared away investors, and it's important to bring order.

Last month, Talon ceded control of the sector to the professional cotton association after his predecessor seized it in 2012. The presidency said investors had been scared away by the state-run system.

“The exceptional environment in which the cotton sector is evolving (via a state-run system) has scared away investors, and it’s important to bring order,” Pascal Irenee Koupaki, a senior official at the presidency, said.

Under AIC’s management, seed cotton production was down at 173,000 tonnes during the 2011/12 season. Three seasons after the state took over, output had rebounded to 394,000 tonnes.

Reuters

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