Need better land Yemen’s cotton farms: Help wanted, please [Archives:2003/08/Business & Economy]

February 24 2003

Cotton growers in Yemen need more support and funding to increase production and exports, especially due to the deterioration of arable lands.
Agriculture sources say lands for cotton plantation in Tabn delta, in Abyan in particular, are in need of irrigation.
This shortage in water deprives soil of nutritious such as calcium potassium and phosphorus.
There are opportunities for investments on water dams to help plant new land with cotton.
Experts are also of the opinion that cotton cultivation is deteriorating because of a shortage in fertilizers needed for production.
Cotton plantation owners believe a lack of good centers for exports have also led to drop of its revenues, which affects their ability to buy fertilizers.
Farmers are asking for investor and government assistance to counter the pending threat to this important crop.
Researchers confirm that cotton grown in land areas specified for experimental cultivation with good seeds yields good production.
An acre’s yield in experimental cotton plantation lands produced 500 pounds, whereas in other agricultural farms the yield did not exceed 250 pounds per acre. This means that production of each acre of poor land drops by at least 50 per cent.
Agricultural research centers also note that they need better workers and equipment for conducting research aimed to develop cotton agriculture in Yemen.
The research centers need Arab and foreign experts to expand the research process and increase areas for cotton plantation.
There exists a capability of expanding cotton plantations by building water dams, fertilization of arable lands, encouraging production and development of exportation, preparing feasibility studies on investment in cotton agriculture and getting new lands.
Moreover, attention must be given to expansion in planting of qat trees in fertile, well-irrigated lands.
The qat tree has become a threat to other crops because it consumes more water than cotton does.
In conclusion it is very important to tackle deterioration of lands needed for cotton cultivation to avoid the country’s loss of an important source of hard currencies.