Cotton fields

Cotton fields

An abundance of cotton – hopefully!

Cotton is the most important cash crop in Mali. And the fields of the Sikasso region are important for the country's cotton output.

In the field shown in the video, the cotton plants are only a month old. But in two month’s time, they will produce seeds. These seeds are surrounded by a protective capsule (or boll) of fibre. This is the cotton. If the harvest is good, a field like the one in the video may produce a tonne of cotton.

Sometimes, all family members become involved in the work of tending fields, including younsters. Some of the harvest will be taken home. Oil extracted from the cotton seeds is used in cooking and spare cotton fibres are woven to make cloth. But the bulk of the cotton harvest is taken to factories. Find out what happens to it there at the end of the Climate & Agriculture section.

With its high rainfall and humidity, the southwestern region of Sikasso is the greenest part of Mali. Malians who live here are proud of this fertile and very green region, which is the largest producer of cotton in the country.