Egyptian cotton production is on to rebound with help from a devalued currency and bigger cultivation area, recovering from a slide in exports since 2011. Nabil al-Santaricy, Head, Alexandria Cotton Exporters Association says cotton exports are expected to reach about 52,000 tons in the 2017-18 season that ends in August, up nearly 37 per cent from the previous year.
Production fell drastically in 2011, when political upheaval meant regulations to maintain quality was not enforced. But demand for the Egyptian product, known locally as ‘white gold’ has picked up as rules to ensure quality have been strictly imposed again since 2016. Ahmed Elbosaty, Chairman of Modern Nile Cotton, Egypt's largest cotton trading company stated Egypt is the world's second largest exporter of long-staple cotton, used mainly to make luxury linens, behind the United States.
The Agriculture Ministry has increased cultivation area in 2018-19 to lift exports from Egypt, where sunny skies and superior seed produce cotton with unusually long fibres used to make light and durable fabrics with sheen and soft touch. Cotton cultivation could expand further as the authorities push farmers to avoid water intensive crops, such as rice, to prevent shortages as Ethiopia prepares to start filling a huge dam on the Nile, considered Egypt's lifeline.