Sagaing Region, which had over 100,000 acres of cotton the previous years, covers only 64,000 acres this year.
“If the crop is potential, the growers plant them. The high input cost and low profit bring down the acreage in the region,” said U Kyaw Soe, head of Sagaing Region Agriculture Department (Administration Division).
Cotton growers said that the cotton fetches K1,700 per viss (a viss equals 1.6 kg) this year.
“The cotton price is not that low. Nevertheless, the growers lose interest in cotton this growing season. Consequently, the number of acres has decreased,” a grower elaborated.
Cotton is included in the National Export Strategy, and textile fibre and fabric is listed on priorities for exports.
Cotton is solely dependent on the Chinese market, resulting in price instability. Therefore, to control the market, more foreign market access is required, the Sagaing Region Agriculture Department stated.
At present, cotton has only a Chinese market through border trade. Price instability occurs depending on China’s demand. In a bid to control the market, cotton is required to penetrate more foreign markets through typical marketing besides China, said an official from the Department. Cotton should be a profitable crop beyond covering input cost to regulate the cotton market. If not, growers will turn to other crops, said a grower.
There are 64,094 acres of cotton between April 2020 and March 2021 in five Sagaing Region districts, covering 19 townships in Monywa, Sagaing, Yinmabin, Shwebo and Kantbalu districts. — Lu Lay/GNLM