China to Develop Cotton Production in Africa

China, the world’s largest cotton importer and user, will promote and develop planting of the fiber in four African countries, the Ministry of Commerce said in a statement on its website today.

China will provide seeds, machinery, fertilizer and other materials to help promote planting in Benin, Mali, Chad and Burkina Faso under the World Trade Organization framework, the ministry said. The Asian nation will also provide technical support and training on crop management to help the industry expand, it said.

Cotton fell to a 15-month low yesterday as Europe struggles to stem its debt crisis, dimming prospects for the global economy and commodity demand.

“Africa is an important source of China’s imports of more than 2 million metric tons every year,” the statement said. “Such cooperation will help boost cotton production in Africa.”

Cotton for March delivery fell 2.5 percent to 85.12 cents a pound on ICE Futures U.S. in New York yesterday. The fiber has plunged 41 percent this year as demand waned, making it the worst-performer of the Standard & Poor’s GSCI Commodity Index.

To contact Bloomberg News staff for this story: Feiwen Rong in Beijing at frong2@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: James Poole at jpoole4@bloomberg.net

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