Buenos Aires, September 12th. After reaching a floor of 235,000 hectares planted in the 2016/17 season, cotton acreage expanded to 324,000 hectares in the last season, and, according to the Production minister of Chaco Province,  Marcelo Repetto, a 20% increment is expected for this year.

The new macroeconomic scheme is improving the perspective for the cotton chain in Argentina. The dollar rose from AR$17 a year ago to current AR$38.50, i.e, a 126% increment; wages and other costs in Pesos were liquefied due to the currency depreciation and, therefore, exports gained competitiveness. Furthermore there is good prices for the fiber and China emerges with a firm demand.

Therefor, in July 2018, cotton exports peaked at 8,165 tons, the better monthly register since August 2016. Accumulated exports from January to July 2018 reached 22,729 tons versus 17,724 in 2017, 18,064 tons in 2016 and 20,364 in the same period of 2015.

Official data from the Ag-Industry Ministry shows that yields are increasing year by year. In the 2017/18 season, farmers harvested an average of 2,500 kilograms per hectare, versus 1,658 kilograms in the 2010/11 season. The landing of a new seed company, Gensus (which bought Monsanto’s Genetica Mandiyú cotton breeding company) helped to put in order a chain with a high rate of informality.

Technicians in the cotton sector think that with a better genetic, more and better traits and better agronomic practices applied to the crop, cotton has an excellent perspective in the Argentine farming. “Medium and large cotton farmers agreed to pay royalties to seed companies to access to the new biotechnological traits”, consultant Arnaud Inchauspe affirms.

In dialogue with www.eFarmNewsAr.com, manager at Gensus, Mr. Pablo Vaquero, explain that they expect a 30% cotton acreage increase this year. “I expect the area it stabilize around 500,000 hectares in the next years; regional governments (provinces) are interested to enhance the crop because it generates added value and labour for the community” Vaquero explains.

A breaking issue in the current cotton scheme was the massive import of harvesters, mainly from the US. Traditionally, cotton were picked manually by thouthands of people, but mechanization has win the race. “Picking the cotton is thing of the past”, Vaquero says, “but a harvester represents an investment around 800,000 or 900,000 dollars, hence farmers want be sure about a predictable scenario”.

“With legal seed in the market, mechanical harvest, new traits, and good agronomic practices, yields will continue growing in the next year. Cotton has a great future in the north of Argentina”, Vaquero concludes.