Buy Lesotho Cotton Directly From Exporters & Suppliers - Best of 2020 Market Prices
|Common Name||Qutun, catoen, katoen, gossypium|
|Size||Plant 6ft long, leaves 3-5 lobes each 2-4inches long, seed 3.5-10mm long|
|Season and Availability||December-February|
|Variety||Egyptian, sea island, American pima, Asiatic, American upland|
|Storage and Packing||Cool, dry well ventilated sheds, covered in tarpaulin and canvas, packed in 380-400kg bales|
|Transport Conditions||Dry conditions|
Lesotho has one of the largest textile industry in Sub Sahara Africa, the ready market has contributed to continuous Lesotho cotton farming as most of the industries use African cotton.
The cotton plant has been existence since time immemorial, and no one can tell when cotton production started. Archaeological findings show that cotton bolls and clothes ageing to more than 7000 years have been found in the pre-historic caves in Mexico.
Cotton farming was first practised in Egypt more than 3000 years ago. It later spread to the valleys in the Indus River in Pakistan. As a result of trade between these regions and the other countries, cotton farming spread to other countries.
The name cotton originates from the Arabic word qutun and is also known as catoen or katoen in the Afrikaans language. It is scientifically known as Gossypium.
Cotton develops in five main stages. The first stage is germination and emergence, after which seedling establishment takes place. As the plant grows, leaf area and canopy development occur, and the plant finally matures. The transition between these stages is barely noticeable as it is usually quite unclear.
The cotton plant grows upright with a semi-woody stem that is about six feet long. It produces dark green leaves that have about three to five lobes each between two to four inches long. Its seeds are oval and about 3.5 to 10 mm long. The seeds are covered with long, rusty hair known as lint. It is the lint that is used to manufacture cotton textiles.
Lesotho cotton is abundant between December and February when there is much sunshine, and the atmospheric condition is generally dry. Temperatures between 18 and 30 degrees Celsius, as well as a minimum of 500mm of moisture, are perfect for boll development. Cotton strives in areas with deep, well-drained and highly nutritious soils.
Cotton farming was introduced to Lesotho by trade and, therefore, is no specific type of cotton that is native to the country. There are several types of cotton grown in the country though not all of them are feasible for commercial use. There are five types of cotton grown in the country for commercial use. These include;
- Egyptian cotton: this type of cotton produces relatively small yet strong yarn. It has extra-long fibres, which in turn produces thread that is thinner than those of the other variety of cotton.
- Sea Island cotton: this type of cotton was initially grown on the sea coast of the states of South Carolina, Georgia, and Florida. This kind of cotton produces a fabric with a pleasant, airy, and soft scent. Its yarn is extra long, with fine uniform texture and a silky lustre.
- American Pima: this is a strong and firm type of cotton originally from South West US. It produces softer and more durable fabric compared to other kinds of cotton.
- Asiatic: just like the name suggests, this variety of cotton is originally from the Middle East, India and China. It is mainly used in the manufacture of clothes and household textiles such as curtains.
- American upland: this type is originally from America and can be used whole as it is or blended with other kinds of fibre to produce textiles.
You will know cotton is ready for harvest when the boll cracks and the fluffy white cotton is exposed. It is essential to wear a thick pair of gloves during harvest to protect the flesh from the sharp cotton bolls.
The cotton boll should be grasped at the base and twisted out to crop the cotton. The cotton is dropped in a bag. Not all cotton matures at the same time, only the mature cotton is picked, and the rest is left till it’s ready.
Once harvested, all the mature cotton is spread out in a cool, dry, and well-ventilated area to dry. Small scale farmers then separate the cotton from the seeds by hand while large scale producers take it to the gin.
Seed cotton is either stored in piles or sheds away from harsh weather conditions. Storage areas are then covered in canvas or tarpaulin to protect the harvest from interaction with moisture. They are later packed in jute bags and polythene bags, ready for marketing.
Cotton is transported in specialized, clean, and well-ventilated trucks. During shipping, it is important to protect it from any element that may lead to loss of value and degradation of quality. Cotton should be protected from fire, water, and any form of contamination.
It is important to store cotton away from fire or other highly combustible goods. This is because of the oxygen trapped in the bales during transport. Should a fire break out on transit, do not break open the bales, Instead, leave as is. This is because the charred coating of cotton that forms protects the cotton inside since it forms a hard surface of the carbon.
Interaction with too much moisture leads to a drop in quality hence a decline in market value. The trucks are fit to ship the cotton at controlled humidity levels and temperature levels.
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