By admin       2016-09-15

BAMAKO - Mali expects to hit a cotton production record of more than 650,000 tonnes this year after farmers increased their growing area by 14 percent, the state-owned Malian Company for Textile Development (CMDT) said on Wednesday. The yield would surpass a previous production record of 620,000 tonnes achieved more than a decade ago and would mark a 27 percent increase from last year's yield of 513,000 tonnes. Farmers planted around 700,000 hectares of cotton this year, surpassing the initial target of 614,000 hectares, said Ousmane Traore, technical adviser in charge of production at the CMDT. "If the rainfall is consistent, we are sure to reach if not surpass our forecast of 650,000 tonnes," he said, adding that evaluations now under way would produce a revised forecast soon. Another CMDT employee who asked to remain anonymous said that production could reach 700,000 tonnes this year, as one tonne of cotton per hectare is a normal yield. Mali's cotton season runs from April and includes a growing phase from around May to October and a harvesting and sales period from roughly October to March. Mali is West Africa's biggest cotton producer with around 3.5 million cotton farmers. (Reporting by Tiemoko Diallo; writing by Nellie Peyton; editing by Jason Neely)

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