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Tanzania: Up cotton, textile production

Published date:
Monday, 10 January 2011

The decision by cotton stakeholders, through the Tanzania Cotton Board, to revive the crop should be commended. Cotton production in Tanzania has for a long time been characterised by low production and poor quality. Lack of modernisation and efficient supporting infrastructure has contributed to the decline in productivity.

These and other impediments such as lack of access to financial facilities have led farmers to shift to other cash crops. About half a million Tanzanians in 13 regions cultivate cotton but it is estimated that over 500,000 hectares suitable for the crop are currently fallow.

Tanzania, ranked fifth largest cotton producer in Africa, stands a good chance to benefit from the big demand for the fiber in the global market. According to the board, cotton was the second crop in 2008/09, bringing in about $83 million in revenue.

Therefore, revival of the industry should go hand in hand with revamping of the textile industry. About 85 per cent of Tanzanian cotton exports goes to Asian countries while garments from China, India and Pakistan flood the local market at the detriment of local textile mills.

A vibrant cotton sector should enable Tanzania to take greater advantage of the US Africa Growth and Opportunity Act (AGOA) and thus earn more foreign receipts from textile exports.

“ Latest AGOA Trade Data currently available on

Click here to view a sector profile of Tanzania's bilateral trade with the United States, disaggregated by total exports and imports, AGOA exports and GSP exports.

Other regularly updated trade statistics on include: (click each link to view)

  • AGOA-Beneficiary Countries’ AGOA and GSP Trade Aggregates

  • AGOA Trade by Industry Sector

  • Apparel Trade under AGOA’s Wearing Apparel Provisions

  • Latest Apparel Quotas under AGOA

  • Bilateral Trade Data for all AGOA-eligible countries individually.

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