egypt seeks to weave cotton renaissance
Cotton purchased from Egypt is durable, fine and soft and has long been considered the best in the market.
But for farmers in the North African country, the situation has not been smooth in recent years.
\"I planted 42 hectares (104 acres)
And it\'s expensive. . .
And price (of cotton)
Khalifa said he has been raising the premium --
Fiber varieties over 30 years.
He lamented that the profit was \"meager\" and his head was obscured by his relentless sun at Kafr El Sheikh farm.
In the 19 th century, cotton was once the main source of wealth in Egypt, as the Nile Delta provided fertile soil for crops producing towels, sheets and robes that were coveted by the emerging European bourgeoisie.
But fierce international competition has reduced returns for decades. Well-marketed short-fibre cotton --
Although the quality is long-fibre variety --
It looks good and is being used more and more by textile giants, which brings a heavy blow to Egyptian players.
According to the USDA report this month, the United States and Brazil are now the world\'s largest cotton exporters, followed by India and Australia, and Egypt is far behind.
Egypt\'s cotton exports amounted to $0. 54 billion in 1975.
As of 2016, export revenue in the sector had fallen to $90.
According to the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, 4 million. -
The popular uprising that ousted president Mubarak in 2011 brought a new blow to the cotton industry, as political and economic chaos hit production and export chains.
According to FAO, Egypt\'s cotton production fell to 94,000 tons in 2013, down from 510,000 tons in 1971.
Producers got some respite last year due to rising prices and increased exports.
But trade disputes between the US and the greedy importing country, China, have caused the global benchmark cotton price to fall again, as traders are fearful of Beijing\'s tariffs.
The transaction price of the item is below $0. 77 per pound (0. 45 kilos)
In early October, after reaching $0. 95 --
Highest level in six years-in early June.
In Egypt, prices have fallen to the lowest level of 2,700 Egyptian pounds guaranteed by the state ($150, € 130)per 100 kilos.
The Egyptian cotton Union says buyers have even asked for a reduction in cotton prices, but the government has not taken any intervention. -
Modernization of productive forces
Others have given a different diagnosis of the ills of the industry.
Ahmed el said: \"The price drop is not a bad thing in itself.
Bosaty, CEO of modern Nile cotton, is one of the largest companies in the industry.
Bosaty said the main challenge is to increase productivity.
\"An increase in productivity rather than an increase in prices will ensure better income for workers,\" he said . \".
A cotton expert at the Ministry of Agriculture acknowledged that modernization was the key.
\"Productivity is rising,\" says Hisham Mosaad . \".
But cotton companies must invest in mechanization, he added, because the industry is still completely manual.
Another challenge is that few Egyptian companies produce finished products.
\"We produce raw cotton for direct export,\" said Mohammad Shita, director of research at Kafr El Sheikh Cotton Research Institute.
He lamented that Egypt did not \"allow us to convert it into a factory or means of fabric \". -State reforms -
Over the past four years, the state has tried to stimulate activity by increasing the planting area by about 50,000 hectares to more than 140,000 hectares.
In an experimental operation, the government even allowed short planting in September.
But only outside the Delta.
Experts and farmers remain skeptical that Egypt will fight foreign heavyweights in the short term
But many companies think the situation is urgent.
Egypt\'s official cotton exports grew by six.
Compared with the same period in 2017, the volume of transactions in the first three months of the end was 9%, which was 57. 9-
As the domestic market turned to imported products, Egyptian cotton consumption in the country fell by a few percent.
At the high end of the value chain, designer Mary Louis bisalad runs one of the few Egyptian companies that produce high-quality finished products locally for the international market.
Young men and women work side by side at her modern chemical plant in northern Cairo, with roles ranging from supervised looms to packaged finished shirts.
She promised the quality of Egypt and she dedicated one of her lines to the local Dragonfibre cotton.
\"We are trying to show the world that if you want to make luxury goods, you have to use long cotton from the Delta,\" she said . \".
Shirts, trousers and jackets with the words \"made in Egypt\" have moved from the design stage on the floor of her factory to the elegant store shelves in France, Italy and her home country.