The National Cotton Development Strategy (NCDS), which outlines a comprehensive road map for cotton development activities in Ethiopia for the coming 15 years (2017-2032), was discussed during a validation workshop held with stakeholders drawn from the cotton, textile, and garment sector.
The textile and garment sector is one of the priority sectors of the Government of Ethiopia (GoE)’s five-years (2015-2019) second Growth and Transformation Plan (GTP II), where GoE is aggressively working to attract significant investments and thereby earn a total of $1 billion through textile and garment export during the GTP II years. As a result, cotton has undoubtedly become a strategic crop. Though the sector is booming with an increasing influx of investment, it has faced major obstacles to its sustainable growth, partly due to supply shortage of locally produced cotton fulfilling the desired qualities. Critical constraints in cotton includes absence of an effective market system to mitigate the impact of cotton price fluctuations, inadequate input supply and support services to cotton farmers, poor linkages of farmers’ organizations/cooperatives with ginneries, as well as contamination of cotton by foreign matters. To tackle these in a comprehensive and sustainable manner, the Ministry of Industry (MoI) and the Ethiopian Textile Industry Development Institute (ETIDI) took steps to develop a strategy. For this end, the ministries engaged Enterprise Partners (EP) to provide both technical and financial support. Accordingly, EP mobilized an international consulting firm, SOFRECO since December 2015, which conducted a sector-wide assessment and scoping study that mapped out all constraints. The study was submitted to a stakeholders’ review during a workshop held in July 2016 and gathered valuable feedbacks to be used as inputs to the strategy.
For its implementation, the strategy proposed a Plan of Action (PoA) around critical strategic objectives, which are:- 1) Improving Policy and Institutional Framework 2) Raising Competitiveness 3) Promoting Socially and Environmentally Sustainable Production Practices 4) Investment Promotion. Upon successful implementation, the strategy targets to increase the size of land cultivated with cotton from the current 80,000 to 250,000 hectares after five years, and to one million hectares by the end of the strategy’s lifespan in 2032. Regarding cotton production, volume is projected to reach 502,000 tons after five years and 2,596,000 in 2032 from the current 138,000 tons. The implementation would also enable Ethiopia to become the top lint-cotton producer in Africa, from its rank of the 10th lint-cotton producer in Africa with 42,000 tons during the 2015/16 crop season.
H.E. Dr Mebrehatu Meles, State Minister of Industry, said:
“The comparative advantage of local cotton now needs to be converted into our competitive advantage. Therefore we must cater for this demand from locally produced cotton both in volume and quality, which brings investment opportunities not only from cotton production but also in the textile and garment sector.”
Nebil Kellow, Managing Director of Enterprise Partners, said:
“Enterprise Partners works to unleash the growth of the Ethiopian economy. We are glad to have committed ourselves to support the development this strategy, which has untangled a number of issues constraining the sector from realising its potential to date. Its effective implementation will unleash not only the cotton sector, but the full textile and garment supply chain to become vertically integrated, creating massive synergies that will deliver thousands of jobs for Ethiopia’s youth, especially women.”