In particular, the proposal, entilted "Poverty Reduction: Sectorial Initiative in Favour of Cotton", called for a ban on the massive subsidies the United States, Europe and China grant their cotton producers. To gain a clearer understanding of the issues surrounding subsidies, a team from CIRAD decided to analyse the strengths and weaknesses of the American, Brazilian and Malian production systems. To this end, the researchers looked at four of the criteria that determine competitiveness: cost prices, paid labour costs, land costs and input prices. The study showed that any differences primarily depended on cropping practices and the degree of access to inputs and services at the beginning of the production chain, and on product marketing conditions.
In Brazil, the technico-economic performance of cotton-growing systems is founded on their high yields. Conversely, in Mali, it is the low costs per hectare that ensure performance. In terms of cost price per pound of cotton fibre, Brazilian cotton varies between 50 and 60 cents/lb, while the average cost price in Mali is around 40 cents/lb. In the United States, on the other hand, the national average is more than 80 cents/lb.
Brazil’s performance is also governed by its low relative costs in terms of paid labour, equipment and land (just 1.5% of the total cost, compared to more than 20% in the United States and 12% in Mali) . The United States, for its part, is saved by its input (seed, fertilizer and phytosanitary product) costs: they account for just 25% of the total cost, compared to 33% in Mali and almost 60% in Brazil, where it is phytosanitary products, followed by fertilizers, that swell the production bill.
In terms of operating costs, the United States is far from the most efficient. American farmers in fact owe their survival to State subsidies. Mali, for its part, seems to be in an intermediate situation, with the lowest unit costs and positive margins, albeit still small in relation to the area cultivated, due to its very low yields per hectare. However, this observation leaves considerable hope of improvement, unlike in the other two countries, where yields are already very high, particularly in Brazil, and seem to have reached a peak.
In Brazil, the "cotton photograph" produced in 2004 revealed the greater economic efficiency of the large, intensive farms in Mato Grosso. However, this raises the issue of the sustainability of those systems, whose profitability remains unpredictable, with much greater economic risks than in Mali, where most of the crop is produced using family labour, which can be a way of adapting to constraints. In Brazil, the deciding factors are economic: in the event of lower productivity due to the weather, or to phytosanitary factors, the only way of adjusting is to disinvest or let farms go bankrupt. In the United States, the State support policy has enabled US producers to top the world export rankings, while Brazil and Mali are just third and sixth respectively.
These considerations look like a "mirror effect" as regards the Malian and Brazilian situations, particularly in the Nordeste region of Brazil: operating margins are extremely small in an economic system that is much less closely supervised than in Mali, where the upstream operator (the Compagnie malienne de développement du textile, CMDT) covers some of the costs, particularly seed cotton transport from farm to mill, processing and storage. In short, this observation raises the question of the role of public support policies and traditional products, which are indeed fragile but are also socially important in terms of the redistribution of the wealth generated by the cotton economy.
Patricio Mendez del Villar | alfa
Alkaline soil, sensible sensor
03.08.2017 | American Society of Agronomy
New 3-D model predicts best planting practices for farmers
26.06.2017 | Carl R. Woese Institute for Genomic Biology, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
Whether you call it effervescent, fizzy, or sparkling, carbonated water is making a comeback as a beverage. Aside from quenching thirst, researchers at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign have discovered a new use for these "bubbly" concoctions that will have major impact on the manufacturer of the world's thinnest, flattest, and one most useful materials -- graphene.
As graphene's popularity grows as an advanced "wonder" material, the speed and quality at which it can be manufactured will be paramount. With that in mind,...
Physicists at the University of Bonn have managed to create optical hollows and more complex patterns into which the light of a Bose-Einstein condensate flows. The creation of such highly low-loss structures for light is a prerequisite for complex light circuits, such as for quantum information processing for a new generation of computers. The researchers are now presenting their results in the journal Nature Photonics.
Light particles (photons) occur as tiny, indivisible portions. Many thousands of these light portions can be merged to form a single super-photon if they are...
For the first time, scientists have shown that circular RNA is linked to brain function. When a RNA molecule called Cdr1as was deleted from the genome of mice, the animals had problems filtering out unnecessary information – like patients suffering from neuropsychiatric disorders.
While hundreds of circular RNAs (circRNAs) are abundant in mammalian brains, one big question has remained unanswered: What are they actually good for? In the...
An experimental small satellite has successfully collected and delivered data on a key measurement for predicting changes in Earth's climate.
The Radiometer Assessment using Vertically Aligned Nanotubes (RAVAN) CubeSat was launched into low-Earth orbit on Nov. 11, 2016, in order to test new...
A study led by scientists of the Max Planck Institute for the Structure and Dynamics of Matter (MPSD) at the Center for Free-Electron Laser Science in Hamburg presents evidence of the coexistence of superconductivity and “charge-density-waves” in compounds of the poorly-studied family of bismuthates. This observation opens up new perspectives for a deeper understanding of the phenomenon of high-temperature superconductivity, a topic which is at the core of condensed matter research since more than 30 years. The paper by Nicoletti et al has been published in the PNAS.
Since the beginning of the 20th century, superconductivity had been observed in some metals at temperatures only a few degrees above the absolute zero (minus...
16.08.2017 | Event News
04.08.2017 | Event News
26.07.2017 | Event News
22.08.2017 | Life Sciences
22.08.2017 | Life Sciences
22.08.2017 | Life Sciences