A senior official at the Sudan Cotton Company (SCC), the firm charged with marketing Sudan's cotton, has predicted that the country's cotton production in 1993/94 will be the lowest in 20 years. Cotton is Sudan's principal hardcurrency earner, but in recent years, production has plummeted, causing concernin many circles.
Abdel-Rahman Abdalla, the head of SCC's Research & Statistics Department, told AB that Sudan produced a record 1.3m bales of cotton in 1970/71 (one bale = 500 lb = 226.8 kilos gross) but that by 1992/93 output had plunged to just 295,000 bales. "This year [1993/941, we expect to produce even less than that quantity, which willmake it the lowest production in 20 years," Abdalla confirms gloomily.
The loss to Sudan of the decrease in cotton production is considerable. In the 1970s, cotton used to bring in about $450m in export proceeds every year. This represented about 60% of the country's entire export earnings.
Earnings plummet too
However, in recent years, cotton has lost out, and in 1992/93, it brought in only $66m.
Abdalla attributes the fall of cotton output to a variety of factors, ranging from political to agronomical ones. Owing to political considerations, the government has allocated more and more area for food production, Abdalla told AB...