study on "Transferring technologies and know-how
for the development of cotton by-products" in Mali
The following communication, dated 12 November 2020, is being circulated at the request of the delegation of Mali.
1.1. This study outlines the current status of cotton co-products, by-products and derivatives in Mali and analyses opportunities to develop value chains and markets to help reduce poverty, promote food security, create jobs, diversify incomes, improve living standards for women and boost the national economy. It is part of a joint initiative on cotton by-products between the World Trade Organization (WTO), the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD) and the International Trade Centre (ITC), launched in response to requests from developing countries, notably the Cotton 4 (C4) countries — Benin, Burkina Faso, Chad and Mali — and other African cotton-producing countries for technical assistance to develop value chains and markets for value addition through cotton by-products.
1.2. Cotton is a strategic sector for Mali because it contributes more than 10% to fiscal revenue, it remains the second largest source of foreign exchange, after gold, and it ensures food self-sufficiency for more than 4.7 million people in the area where the Mali Textile Development Company (CMDT) operates. Yet, only 2% of the lint produced is processed by local textile businesses, which means the country is missing out on large amounts of revenue. We are pleased to note that the shift towards sustainable development in the cotton-growing area is the result of the combined efforts of many actors, including the CMDT, the Upper Niger Valley Board (OHVN), research bodies, the State, the private sector and especially producers who have integrated cotton into their agricultural production system.
1.3. All the cottonseed produced by ginning seed cotton is crushed by the approximately 100 oil mills in the country, the combined capacity of which exceeds national cottonseed production. In addition to these cottonseed crushing plants, many women's economic interests groups (EIGs) are being set up that collect the processing waste from the plants to make soap, which is then sold, providing those women with a sizeable income. Cotton linters, which are low-quality fibres produced during ginning, are used by Sud Coton Textile (SUCOTEX) – a company based in Kignan, in the Sikasso region – to produce floorcloths and packaging material for cotton bales. The oil produced by crushing cottonseed is used for human consumption. The meal is a prized livestock feed, in a country where arable and pastoral farming play a central role.
1.4. Given its seed-cotton production capacity, Mali could gain huge competitive advantages from fully utilizing the value chains of cotton by-products, such as stems and husks. It could also further develop and diversify value chains for cottonseed meal and oil. These value chains provide opportunities to open up new markets, create jobs, increase stakeholder revenues and, consequently, contribute to poverty reduction.
1.5. Thanks to the current state of supplies to the Malian market, seed-cotton by-products have a certain future. Given the continued increase in domestic demand and the market's growth potential, Mali could reap economic benefits of developing value chains for the by-products from cotton stalks and cottonseed.
 This communication concerns a study by the independent consultants Mr Alexis Hougni, Mr Urbain Dembélé and Mr Fagaye Sissoko. It deals with the aforementioned feasibility study, as presented in the Thematic Session on Cotton By-Products Development in LDCs on 12 November 2020.