Cotton production in Tanzania has almost doubled in the year 2018/19 going up by 85% from last year. The increase in production, estimated at 425, 000 480-pound bales, is mainly driven by an increase in the area harvested, which is at 500,000 hectares, up 43% from last year. More regions in Tanzania are cultivating cotton as a result of better cotton prices globally and support for farmers from the Tanzania Cotton Board. In the past few years, global cotton prices have gone up, incentivizing the Tanzanian government to revive its cotton sector after its collapse in the 1980s.
The Tanzania Cotton Board has invested in technologies that will ramp up cotton harvesting, a major impediment to higher harvests last year. The board also provides farmers technical training through its agricultural extension services and a stable market for their crop. As a result, 66,000 farmers are expected to get into cotton farming by the end of this year, suggesting even larger production quantities next year. Tanzania is one of nearly a dozen cotton-producing nations in Africa. Its output represents a small portion of the world’s total production, which was approximately 124 million tonnes in 2017/18. Gro Intelligence provides users with the data to keep up with various countries’ cotton industries.
Compared with Africa’s biggest cotton producers, Tanzania is expected to record the largest growth this year (left chart, above). Tanzania’s cotton production stands at its highest point since 2004 (right chart).