The robe white gold in Ethiopia
By Teweldebirhan Wubneh Communication expert
Tigrai Online, August 26, 2015
Ethiopia consists mainly of a mountainous rugged central plateau dissected into different sections by deep canyons, especially those of the Blue Nile and Rift Valleys. The highlands are surrounded in almost every direction by deserts or semi- deserts.
The central plateau is cool, well watered and fertile land. It is inhabited by a large number of different tribes and linguistic groups. The terrain and climate vary considerably, roughly in accordance with altitude, though there are also differences, especially in rainfall pattern, between the northern and southern highlands. A wide variety of crops are grown and there are vast areas of natural grasslands where very large numbers of cattle are kept. Some of the most important crops are wheat, barley, sorghum, teff, coffee, several oil crops, and cotton.
Cotton is grown throughout Ethiopia at elevations above 1000 meters and below 1400 meters. Because most of the lowlands lack of adequate rainfall, cotton cultivation depends largely on irrigation.
Cotton production has long been underway in Ethiopia. Before the industrial revolution, large-scale commercial cotton plantations were developed in the Awash valley and the Humera areas. The Tendaho Cotton Plantation in the lower Awash Valley was one of Ethiopia's largest cotton plantations. Rain-fed cotton also grew in Humera and Arba minch.
Given its excellent growing conditions, abundance of raw materials and availability of land, Ethiopia has the potential to become a major global cotton producer but the cotton industry in Ethiopia as of 2011 is far behind that of the coffee industry and cereal production. However, the development of the textile industry is a priority of the Ethiopian government in its economic growth strategy and an important privatization initiative to attract foreign and private enterprises to develop the sector.
The development of a cotton textile industry in Ethiopia based upon increased national production of raw cotton is gradually taking place. Cotton has been grown and used in Ethiopia since ancient times, and hand spinning and weaving is still a well established and widespread craft. One of the Old World species of cotton used may be indigenous. Ethiopia is one of the centers of variability and domestication of cotton production and also advanced civilization and culture has existed from very early times.
The geographic condition of the nation is considered to be one of the important world centers of domestication of plants and the cultivated plants of the country are, therefore, of considerable interest. Cotton has been one of the more valuable and extensively grown crops of Ethiopia for a very long time. An old and well established ‘cottage industry’ in hand spinning and weaving cotton also exists. All of the raw cotton produced in Ethiopia is consumed by the cottage industry. This cotton is produced in very small quantities by peasant farmers all over the country. These mills produce yarn and cloth, but much of the yarn is used by the hand weaving industry.
The textiles and clothing industry is undergoing major development in Ethiopia, aided by the Presence of skilled and highly motivated workforce. This surge has been helped by the country’s impressive economic growth over the past years. Ethiopia is enormous export potential made possible by the wide availability of raw cotton and natural fibers and access to domestic and regional markets. The basis for the full cycle of business opportunities and the enormous growth Potential for the textile industries is the local production of cotton. Ethiopia has more than three million hectares of fertile land for cotton and only 6.7 percent is cultivated out of it. Large scale Production is carried out under irrigation, mainly in the Awash Valley, Omo-Gibe, Wabi Shebelle, Baro Akobo, Blue Nile and Tekeze river basins. The production of cotton is well integrated into the textile sector, with garment factories relying heavily on domestically produced Cotton. Available within Ethiopia are all essential ingredients for a competitive textile industry: raw materials, low wages and low energy costs. This gives the country a comparative advantage over other countries and regions. The Ethiopian Government is actively promoting the further modernization of the textile sector with the aim of attracting local and foreign investors that can penetrate the global market. In recent years, the global market has become increasingly accessible to countries such as Ethiopia. New export opportunities were created through initiatives such as AGOA (the African Growth and Opportunity Act), COMESA (the Common Market of Eastern and Southern Africa) and the many bilateral and multilateral trade agreements concluded with Western countries, including the Netherlands, Belgium and Luxembourg.
Ethiopia is also part of the “Everything But Arms” program that has been set up to provide access to the E.U. market for Lesser Developed Beneficiary Countries, free of duty and without quota restrictions, for all export products except arms.