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Why Egypt's 'white gold' production is now in decline

Egyptian cotton exports take another thumping in the latest agricultural season, and local cotton consumption drops as cotton cultivation becomes too heavy a financial burden for Egyptian farmers to bear.
A child and farmer Am Tayeb stand in a field of extra long staple "Giza 88" cotton in Shubra Kheit in El Beheira Governorate, north of Cairo, Egypt, July 29, 2015. After the agriculture ministry banned cotton imports to help local producers, the cabinet abruptly vetoed the idea - the latest in a series of economic policy U-turns and delays under President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi.  Such schizophrenic decision-making is also a symptom of wider policy problems affecting Egypt, which is struggling to re-energise i

Egyptian cotton exports receded by 54.2% during the second quarter of the 2015-2016 agricultural season (December 2015 to February 2016), dropping to 11.2 million pounds compared to 24.4 million pounds during the same period in the preceding year, according to recently released data. In a June 13 statement, the Central Agency for Public Mobilization and Statistics (CAPMAS) also noted that the local consumption of cotton has dropped from 17.4 million pounds to 7.6 million pounds because some textile factories had ceased production.

The drop in Egypt’s cotton exports this year shouldn’t come as a surprise, as exports have been gradually receding during the last few years. According to CAPMAS’ quarterly on cotton, Egypt exported 55 million pounds of cotton between December and February of the 1999-2000 season. The cotton exports dropped to 12.5 million pounds in the same period of the 2013-2014 season, then it rose to 24.4 million pounds in the same period of the 2014-2015 season and eventually receded again in the 2015-2016 season.

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