Burkina Faso, the first organic cotton producer in West Africa is the only country to grow OGM cotton, and the second on the continent after Tanzania, which remains the champion of organic cotton. Supported by long-term relationships between producers and clients (agreement between the Union of National Cotton Producers and the American brand Victoria Secret), Burkina Faso production grew by 53%.
African production amounted to 5899 tonnes in 2013/14, up 14% from 2012/13. Burkina Faso’s place, however modest in world production, is about 5%, according to the latest report by Textile Exchange (see CommodAfrica: Organic cotton at a crossroads ).
With 3752 tons, Tanzania remains the first African producer ( 63.6% of total production ), up 11%, and with the highest yields (317 kg / hectare). It is followed by Burkina Faso ( 14.7%), Uganda ( 11.9% ), Benin (7.2%), Mali (2.2%), Senegal (0.4%) and Madagascar (0.1%). While Madagascar in 2013/14 became the seventh African producer of organic cotton, Ethiopia would soon join the club, about 4600 hectares of land being in retraining. However, Textile Exchange anticipates a slight decline of the African organic cotton production for 2014/15.
Benin’s production recorded the highest growth rate (+ 86%), the Organization for the Promotion of Benin Organic Farming (OBEPAB) claimed the main producer almost doubling the quantities produced. A straight increase to 50% increase in yields, 39% of areas and 33% in the number of farmers, according OBEPAB. Also Textile Exchange, producers were attracted by the proposals Sonapra, the price offered for Fairtrade cotton. However, cotton farmers appear to have been penalized by delays in payments from Sonapra which affected production in 2014/15.
In Mali, the internal management problems of the main union of producers, Mobiom, including payment delays have meant that producers have abandoned organic. So production has fallen from 75% in 2013/14 with a very low yield (116 kl / ha).
In Senegal, a new collaboration between the Swedish company Mapro System, specializing in agricultural mechanization, and the National Union of Agricultural Cooperatives of Senegal (UNCAS) launched in 2014, creating 1,000 organic farms in Senegal, 3500 futures. Each farm will start with 100 hectares which will be practiced agriculture, livestock and forestry. Organic cotton could benefit from this project.