(Business in Cameroon) - The Cotton Development Company (Sodecoton), leading agro-industrial company in Cameroon’s northern part, is targeting a production of 295,000 tons of cotton during the current 2018-19 campaign, authorized sources within the company said.
This figure roughly corresponds to the production level in 2014; the year after which national cotton output dropped under 290,000 tons sometimes hardly reaching 250,000 tons. A situation motivated by combined effects of lower global prices, losses due to cotton wetting and the marketing of local cotton in Nigeria, where prices were often considered more profitable by Cameroonian producers.
Thanks to a stimulus package, set in recent years, which has seen the renovation of rolling stock that improved field-to-factory transport (thus avoiding cotton wetting), and the rehabilitation of production equipment, which has enabled the machines to run at 90% of their capacity (compared to around 50% previously), Sodecoton now sees a boom in production.
With the success of this recovery plan thanks to which Sodecoton returned into profit in 2016-2017 (XAF4.3 billion), after three gloomy years, with a total of XAF35.6 billion loss, the company aims to increase production to 400,000 tons in 2021, then to 600,000 tons by 2025.
To this end, Sodecoton plans to introduce transgenic cotton (GMOs) in Cameroon. Testing phase started in 2012 and results are expected this year 2018. Let’s recall that the company already launched in 2015 a series of public consultations in the Far North region to assess producers’ view on introducing GMO cotton.
Brice R. Mbodiam