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March 31, 2010

Benin cotton output may double

by Serge-David Zoueme

Benin plans to more than double cotton output this year through increased plantings and government support for the industry, Agriculture Minister Gregoire Akofodji said.


Production is forecast to climb to 500,000 metric tons in 2010 from 242,474 tons last year, Akofodji said in an interview today from the capital, Porto Novo. Plantings may increase to 400,000 hectares (988,422 acres), from 290,000 hectares in 2009, he said.
“Cotton production may climb considerably because the government and cotton producers plan to widen the national cultivated fields,” Akofodji said. In addition, the government will provide growers with “good-quality” compost and other fertilizers to improve yields, he said.
Benin is sub-Saharan Africa’s third-biggest cotton grower, after Nigeria and Burkina Faso, according to the Web site of the Food and Agricultural Organization. The fiber accounts for 40 percent of the West African nation’s exports, according to the African Development Bank.
Output may increase even further to 600,000 tons next year because of the increased plantings and government support, Idrissou Sina Gounou, director of National Society for Promoting Agriculture, said in a phone interview.
Benin earned 33.3 billion CFA francs ($69.1 million) from cotton exports in 2008, compared with 131 billion francs a year earlier, Development Minister Pascal Irenee Koupaki said yesterday in a phone interview. Data for 2009 isn’t available yet, he said.

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