Mali is aiming to produce 750,000 tonnes of raw seed cotton in the upcoming 2018/19 season, up from 725,000 tonnes during the previous harvest, statistics from the agriculture ministry showed on Tuesday. According to a planning document seen by Reuters, the expected increase is due to an anticipated expansion of land used to grow cotton from 703,652 hectares in the 2017/18 season to around 736,000 hectares in the new season.
Improved production techniques, including more intensive use of fertilisers, pesticides and increased mechanisation, will also help boost output, the document said. Those improvements are expected to cost the government around 111 billion CFA francs ($210 million).
Mali is vying with neighbour Burkina Faso to be Africa’s top cotton producer.
Its cotton season runs from April to March with a growing phase from May/June to September/October and a marketing phase that begins in October/November and closes on March 31.