Egypt’s Cotton Is Poised to Return to Global Prominence

By | April 3, 2024


Cotton has been one of Egypt’s main exports for over 200 years, but between 2006 and 2016, the production of Egyptian cotton experienced a significant decline, dropping by seventy percent. 

To mitigate this decline, which has harmed Egypt’s economy in the past five years, the government has put plans in place to bring back the cash crop to the forefront of world trade.

Egyptian cotton plays a significant role in Egypt’s economy, contributing to about 12 percent of the country’s export earnings through the textile industry, as reported by the Egypt Business Directory. 

Egypt is working to regain its leading position in the textile industry after Cotton produced in India, China, and the United States gained prominence. This effort is part of a comprehensive national strategy aimed at boosting the private sector’s competitiveness in the textile industry while making optimal use of the country’s resources. 

Government interventions, such as the review of cotton production policies in 2017 and the establishment of spinning and weaving factories, have led to noticeable improvements in the quality of Egyptian cotton, as stated by the U.S. Department of Agriculture. Key initiatives have been launched since 2019, including improving the quality of cotton production, creating a favorable environment for farmers to enhance productivity, and modernizing spinning mills and production processes.

Recently, Egypt’s Cotton Research Institute has also introduced six new enhanced cotton varieties, starting from the “Giza 94” and ending with the “Giza 98” variety, according to Walid Yahya, deputy director of the institute.

Yahya stated that the institute has been proactive in conducting guidance workshops for farmers in all governorates to ensure the production of high-quality cotton. 

Egypt is on the right path

The Cabinet Media Center published a report earlier this month showcasing the positive outcomes of the comprehensive development efforts in the textile sector.

In the report, the center emphasized the strategic importance of focusing on enhancing the quality of cotton and creating an empowering environment for cotton growers. These efforts are crucial for motivating growers to boost their production levels.

The report also highlights the favorable international outlook on cotton production and the textile industry in Egypt, which could lead to Egypt regaining its lost leading position in textiles.

Fitch Ratings Inc. noted significant growth potential in Egypt’s textiles and clothing sector, driven by factors such as a large workforce, relatively low wages, and planned improvements in working conditions and transportation infrastructure. 

Additionally, the Swiss nonprofit Better Cotton Initiative (BCI) recognized Egyptian cotton for its exceptional quality, softness, and durability, attributing Egypt’s reputation as a symbol of luxury and excellence in the textile industry to its rich historical legacy.

Other international organizations like the United Nations Industrial Development Organization (UNIDO) have highlighted the strength of Egypt’s textile supply chain within the country, from cotton cultivation to final manufacturing, with significant potential for growth in secondary textile products. 

The International Cotton Advisory Committee has also acknowledged significant progress in Egypt’s cotton sector, with the government implementing a comprehensive strategy for cultivation and trade and investing in the development of cotton gins and industrial centers. 

Despite challenges such as the Russian-Ukrainian war’s impact on global trade, Egypt achieved record cotton exports in the 2022 season, demonstrating resilience and competitiveness in the international market.

 



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