The Togolese government has revealed its plans to revive its once struggling cotton sector through its recent privatization and industrialization efforts.
At a press conference held in mid-June, the chairman of the board of directors of the New Cotton Company of Togo (NSCT), Simféitchéou Pré, revealed that the efforts are intended to make “white gold” a real source of income and employment for the country.
Despite the government’s grand plans, the 2020-2021 cotton season was a hard hit for Togo, which produced only 67,000 tons of cotton, a considerable drop of 43% compared to the previous year (116,000 tons).
However, Pré put forward several factors to explain these poor figures, including “the poor quality of cotton seed” and “floods in the north of the country”.
On the other hand, the drop in the price of seed cotton (from 265 to 225 FCFA/kg) has pushed many producers to turn to other crops such as corn and soybeans.
“At least 40,000 cotton farmers out of 153,000 abandoned their crop during the past season,” said Koussouwè Kourouféi, president of the National Federation of Cotton Producers’ Groups (FNGPC).
The “white gold”, as it is nicknamed in the West African region, contributes only 1 to 4.3% of the country’s gross domestic product (GDP), and employs – even indirectly – only 500,000 people out of a population of 8 million.