The Southern African context

The South African cotton sub-national cluster has suffered significantly over the years. From an industry that has a rich tradition of sustained production and high employment, it is now one of the smaller national employers.

In 2013, its production was judged to be less than 2% of total manufacturing, with total merchandise exports at less than 1%. The textile industry in general represents less than 1% of South African gross domestic product (GDP).

While there is sufficient production capacity available, lower import duties attracting cheap imports of both cotton and cotton products have eroded local production levels. This is coupled with rising fuel and electricity prices, and stagnating export levels.

Together, these conditions have created the perfect storm, presenting a gloomy outlook for the cotton industry in South Africa. That’s where the Sustainable Cotton Cluster comes in. Turbulent labour conditions in the agriculture sector have also contributed to the challenges facing the cotton sector.

By consolidating and pooling our resources, coming together as an industry, and working together to improve the economic, social and environmental sustainability of the cotton sub-national cluster, we are convinced that we can help to halt and even reverse this downward slide.

Join us to make the difference we can make together.