Cotton Rises Despite Doomsayers Pronouncements
We are writing this in response to the story headlined, “Cotton Collapse” (Volume 15, Number 748, August 31, 2014). We believe that the flaws of the story remind one of the famous Ethiopian saying, “the dog barks well after the hyena left”. Analogically speaking, then, your story about cotton in Ethiopia came after most of the problems were solved through the serious of measures taken by the government and its public affiliates, such as the Ethiopian Textile Industry Development Institute (ETIDI).
As the ETIDI understands it and as the Ethiopian Cotton Producers Association (ECPA) confirmed at the meeting held on August 19, 2014, there is no “cotton collapse”. The conclusion the story has reached is aimed only at intensifying the matter to grab the readers’ attention.
What we understand is that “cotton is rising”. It is this similar assertion that members of the ECPA forwarded during the announcement of the establishment of Industrial Inputs Development Enterprise (IIDE) which would play a pivotal role in solving the status quo of cotton, in production and marketing, as soon as possible.
The mere external appearance of the story seems to show the Institute’s comments on the issue raised are incorporated. But it did not let the Institute have its own say on the issue that directly concerns it as a public body entrusted to oversee the issue. This shows that the story has serious lack of balance, which is not expected from professional journalism.
The story also claims that a ban against cotton export was declared in November 2010. To the knowledge of the Institute, there is no ban on exporting cotton. If the reporter has that knowledge, he is professionally expected to mention the exact proclamation number of the ban.
On the basis of the question of the reporter, the Institute had given him the information that there is no ban on cotton export under any legal circumstance. He was also informed that export of cotton is discouraged through necessary instruments for the country’s Industrial Development Strategy clearly depicts that value addition on agricultural products pave a way to accelerate the industrialisation and the level and size of the country’s export.
It has been one year since the ETIDI has taken the responsibility of cotton sub-sector as its own mandate, following the amendment declaration, publicised on Negarit Gazette on June 11, 2013, pursuant to Council of Ministers Regulation No. 286/2013. Though the Institute has not yet solved all the longstanding problems of the cotton sub-sector, it is impossible to belittle its achievements of the past one year.
To mention some, a lot of efforts have been made to set an organisational structure to provide quality support to the sector according its value chains. Consequently, about six directorates, which are tactically convenient to secure sustainable development of the sector, such as Cotton Development Directorate, Cotton Inspection Directorate, Research Laboratory Directorate, Cotton & Textile Marketing Directorate, and Technology Transfer & Training Directorate, have been established and reengineered in inclusive manner. After the organisational structure was filled with reasonable number of experts, tremendous efforts have been made to tackle the challenges that used to face the cotton sub-sector in its process of production and marketing.
The Institute, together with other government bodies, has initiated various policies, which, for instance, resulted with the recently establishment of IIDE that will have a key position in solving the status quo of cotton through various production and marketing schemes.
Various workshops, discussions and trainings, focused to solve the existing challenges and underline the bright future of the sector, have been conducted with cotton producers and other stakeholders in different corners of the country. The institute has attracted investment of cotton production as foreign direct investment (FDI) and from the buyers’ side such as textile industries. It is also conducting various researches which will thoroughly solve the existing problems in the sector and accelerate its sustainable development as possible.
No matter how the story wants to paint a negative image, cotton is rising to its highest level ever. Your relatively acclaimed newspaper should have grasped the reality on the ground, rather than printing unsubstantiated story. That is why we say the story reminds us of the famous Ethiopia saying, “the dog barks well after the hyena left”.
Foreign Relations Team Leader, Corporate Communication Directorate
Ethiopian Textile Industry Development Institute (ETIDI)