THE EGYPTIAN COTTON Production, Quality and Market

(12/31/1999 20:00)
Topic One: #

Egypt, if not the oldest, is one of the oldest countries in the world, and is rightly regarded by historians as the craddle of human civilization. Its recorded history is one of the longest Known, dates back to 3110 B.C. when the ancient kingdoms of Upper and Lower Egypt were united by Pharoah (King) Menes, who founded the first of a long array of dynasties. The ancient Egyptians succeeded in making good use of the Nile river . They developed a prosperous agriculture where they successfully grew numerous crops including wheat for food and flax for clothes. They also, perfected the extraction of flax fibers from the plant stalks and its processing into fine yarns and linen fabrics. But they did not grow cotton. The emergence of modern Egypt, however, dates to the year 1805 , when Mohamed Aly became ruler and founded the last dynasty, which was terminated in 1954 when Egypt became a republic. The emergence of “Egyptian cotton” coincided with the rise of Mohamed Aly .

Topic Two: #

A clear and comprehensive understanding of the structure and functions of the various organs of the cotton plant is , undoubtedly , of primary importance for cotton improvement programmes as well as for cotton production management. Such understanding gains particular importance because of the indeterminate growth habit of the areal organs of the cotton plant which simaltaneously develops both vegetably and reproductively, as well as the growth habit of the root system which penetrates deeply in the soil. Our available information of the Egyptian cotton plant is based primarily on the pioneering work of Balls early in the twentieth century, and some later work, but it seems that this knowledge is still lacking and much research work is still needed.

Topic Three: #

Cotton Varietes , no doubt , play a prominent role in the success of cotton commercial production in any cotton producing country , and in Egypt in particular , as the world – wide reputation of Egyptian cotton relies primarily on the many varieties of high quality that emerged during the last one hundred and thirty years such as Ashmouni , Sakel … etc . When dealing with Egyptian cotton varieties , three main topics will be discussed; breeding new varieties , maintenance of commercial varieties , and a general overview of the important varieties that have been put into commercial production .

Topic Four: #

The two main components of seed cotton , from the economical and utilization points of view , are the lint and the seed. The lint usually comprises one third or somewhat more of the weight of seed-cotton while seeds provide the rest two thirds. The ginning outturn varies according to varieties and growing conditions. For Egyptian commercially grown varieties, the ginning outturn , on the average for the whole crop during the last years, was about 36.5 – 37.5 %. Market lint price per unit weight is nearly ten times that of seeds. However, because seeds are nearly twice the weight of lint, their share in the monetary value of seed-cotton is nearly twice their relative price and may by 15-20 % .

Topic Five: #

In cotton , as a field crop , quality is an economic value , parallel to yield , as they together determine the revenue the farmer gets from cultivating cotton. The value of higher quality, and accordingly higher price , is of special importance in Egyptian cottons as they are of generally lower yield potential than upland cottons. It is quality that compensates for the loss in yield potential. This explains, besides other factors such as marketing potentialities, the enthusiasm of Egyptian cotton breeders for maintaining higher levels of quality in the newer varieties they regularly introduce. On the other hand, quality of a cotton is not a simple criteria but , in fact , a rather complicated one. It includes numerous fiber properties that determine the field of utilization , the processing behaviour and the quality , and price , of the end product. These properties vary widely among different cottons. Also , the requirements of cotton spinners, the only client of cotton, vary widely. Improvement in one fiber property may sound as the required improvement for a spinner , but for another a balanced improvement in all fiber properties may be the real requirement. Methods of test and assessment are also important. Therefore , in this chapter , similar to what has been followed in chapter 4, the subject of quality will be presented broadly for cotton in general, and special emphasis will be given to Egyptian cotton.

Topic Six: #

The three activities ; ginning , classing , and marketing , are interlaced , and together play a prominent role in the cotton industry because of the services they provide to both the farmer , producer of seed-cotton , on one hand , and , on the other hand , the processor ; i.e. the spinner and the seed oil extraction industry. Classing provides the simple rule for assessing cotton quality to the benefits of the seller and the buyer . Ginning , besides converting seed-cotton into lint and seeds salable to processors , could promote the market value of cotton , while marketing makes it possible to the farmer selling his product and the processor obtaining his requirements . An efficient ginning , classing and marketing system could ensure fair price for producer thus enhancing production efficiency and farmers interest in cultivating cotton leading to a higher yield per unit area , total production and product competitiveness in local and export markets.

Chief Researcher Emeritus
Cotton Research Institute, Giza

Submit Date: 12/31/1999 20:00

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