China will be extending technical and financial support for cotton production over next few years to four leading African cotton producing countries (C4), namely, Burkina Faso, Mali, Benin and Chad.
The joint programme was announced by Chinese Commerce Minister Chen Deming and Ministers or representatives of the C4 countries.
Technical assistance in researches, sponsorship for training projects, technology transfer, experience sharing, and provision of seeds, fertilizers, pesticides and agricultural machinery would all form a part of the two-way support programme.
Mr. Chen said some of the Chinese apparel and textile industries may shift to Africa in due course of time, and added that some such instances of relocation are visible at present.
Although China is one of the leading cotton producing nations, producing over seven million tons of cotton each year, it hardly exports any cotton, rather it needs to import from other countries. Around 30 million people in China depend on cotton cultivation for their livelihood.
The Minister said that C4 countries always had access to the Chinese cotton market, and added that the new programme is a concrete step towards "aid for trade" and also a move ahead in promoting industrial growth as specified in the Doha Development Agenda.
He said the world economy can actually improve only when the economy of Africa, which has a population of one billion, develops.