October 18, 2001
Maliís 2001/02 cotton production is
estimated at 1.1 million bales, up 0.1 million from last month and up 0.62
million from last year. Harvested area is estimated at 0.5 million hectares, up
0.3 million from last year and 85,000 hectares above the five-year average. Maliís record cotton production is attributed to increased
planted area, as well as favorable weather and few pest problems.
Typically, Mali is West Africaís leading cotton producer and Africaís second
largest producer after Egypt. Output in 2000/01 was well below the
five-year average because farmers boycotted cotton due to low prices. Cotton was favored by farmers this year, and
Maliís 2001/02 cotton production is forecast near-record levels.
Figure 1. Record Cotton Production in Mali Estimated
Cotton is grown in southern Mali, near the banks and tributaries of the Niger River, and within Maliís most productive agricultural region located between Bamako and Mopti. Irrigation is practiced in this region, but irrigation water is used mainly for rice while cotton is grown as a rainfed crop. Average rainfall varies in this region from 500-mm per year around Mopti to 1400-mm in the south near Bougouni. Cotton production systems typically revolve around small family farms with limited equipment and no mechanization.
Cotton production in the Franc Zone for 2001/02 is expected to reach record levels of 4.30 million bales, up 1.08 million bales from last year. The Franc Zone is the world's fifth largest cotton producing region; behind China, United States, India, and countries of the former Soviet Union. The Franc Zone, in order of raw cotton production, includes the following nine countries: Mali, Cote d'Ivoire, Benin, Burkina Faso, Cameroon, Chad, Togo, Central African Republic, and Senegal. Cotton output for 2001/02 is forecast higher than last year in Mali, Cote díIvoire, Burkina Faso, and Chad due to increased planted area and favorable weather. Cotton output for Cameroon is forecast below last year due to inadequate rainfall in its northern cotton belt.
In general, cotton in the Franc Zone is grown within the Sudanian and Sudanian-Guinean Zone, characterized with an annual rainfall ranging from 600-1200 mm and growing seasons greater than 120 days. Cotton within the Franc Zone is planted from May-July and harvested from October-December. Other cropping systems within the Franc Zone cotton belt includes maize, sorghum, millet, vegetables, cowpeas, and rice.
Figure 2. Major Agricultural Region in Southern Mali
For more information, contact Curt Reynolds with the
Production Estimates and Crop Assessment Division at (202) 690-0134 or e-mail ReynoldsC@fas.usda.gov.