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Egypt seeks more African cotton for its industry

Egypt wants to import more cotton from African countries. The country seeks to import around 2,50,000 tons of African cotton a year. A two-year temporary import ban designed to protect the domestic industry was recently lifted.

African countries expected to benefit include Ethiopia, Uganda, Tanzania and Kenya. Egypt currently sources cotton from Greece, Uzbekistan and Burkina Faso, with Sudan and Syria also, though political unrest in these two countries has hampered imports. Egyptian spinners and weavers want more countries to be a source of cotton imports. In fact, the industry in Egypt would like cotton from all African countries, except if there is infestation of certain pests.

The African continent produces some 1.2 million tons of cotton a year, six per cent of the world’s production. The envisaged African imports are not expected to have any impact on local Egyptian producers because it is of a different variety. Egyptian cotton is extra long stable and the industry wants to import short stable to produce a coarser yarn for T-shirts and for denim.

Egypt’s cotton exports have been hit by a local hike in prices this year, following a decline in local production brought about by reduced acreage and the import ban removal.