Lack of rain threatens to prevent Mali reaching its cotton production target of 650,000 tonnes in the 2015/16 season, the state-owned Malian Company for the Development of Textile (CMDT) said on Monday. The West African country produced roughly 550,000 tonnes of raw cotton fibre in the 2014-2015 season, well above the 400,000 tonnes produced the previous year.
"The rains have not arrived this year. It's not even raining a bit and the farmers can't sow," said Ousmane Traore, a technical adviser in charge of agricultural production. "If things remain as they are until the end of June the forecast for this season will be compromised. But if the rains start from this week, given that the planting season's fixed for July 20, the season might still work out." 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 November to March. The country has more than 3.5 million cotton farmers and 17 processing factories.