Agricultural activities occupy 70% of Mali’s workforce. More than three million Malians – a third of the population depend on cotton not just to live but to survive. Cotton is a Mali’s second major export. In the past few years the subsidies introduced in America, Europe and China have caused an overproduction of cotton causing the price of cotton to fall.
Mali has lost twice as much on the drop in cotton prices as they received in US foreign aid. This has driven more than 4% of each country¹s population into abject poverty and prompted a common African lament which goes: The more we produce, The more we export, The poorer we get! (http://www.organicconsumers.org/clothes/224subsidies.cfm)
With the recent crises in Asia and the Middle East, the need for cotton has increased. Also, in Mali, in 2011, the government has introduced incentives to boost output. Last month, Toure announced the government would purchase the fiber from growers at 225 CFA Francs (49 cents) per kilogram (2.2 pounds), compared with 185 francs last year. The state will also subsidise farming inputs including fertilizer, Toure said.
On Saturday, January 31st 2011, the textile company Cotton Ginning Company (CMDT) which does the exporting of Mali cotton, reopened its doors in Ouelessebougou. This is one of the 5 cotton factories in Mali and its reopening is a great development in the hope to reduce some of the unemployment in Mali.
Yeah had the opportunity as Mayor to inaugurate the reopening. As the machinery chimed away in the background, Yeah was shown the amazing process of turning cotton picked into exportable bales of cotton. Much work goes into this process.
May opportunities for the people of Mali continue to shine in 2012. May Mali continue to show that they are aiming to get themselves out of debt and need a hand up and not a handout.