Ivory Coast cotton output falls 31% on disappointing rains

Ivory Coast’s cotton harvest fell 31 percent in the season that ended this month as disappointing rainfall curbed output across West Africa.

Growers harvested 310,000 metric tons in the 2015-16 season, less than the 450,000 tons collected a year earlier, Lacina Tuo, the head of the national association of cotton growers and grinders, known as Intercoton, said by phone on Thursday. Rain came later than normal during planting and there was too much moisture during development phase, he said. Low quality seeds were also responsible for the production decline, he said.

“Rainfall has been unpredictable during the season,” he said. That “led to a degradation of the quality and the quantity of cotton.”

As much as 400,000 hectares (988,421 acres) of plantations are expected to be sown with cotton for the next season, for a production estimate of about 450,000 tons if weather conditions are favorable, Tuo said. The cotton season runs from May to April, with harvesting typically peaking in November.

Cotton production in West Africa, including Burkina Faso, Mali, Ivory Coast, Senegal and Chad, is expected to fall 9 percent in the 2015-16 season to 1.71 million tons from 1.88 tons in the 2014-15 season because of similar weather issues, according to the USDA Foreign Agricultural Service. Burkina Faso is Africa’s largest producer.

– Bloomberg