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The earliest evidence for the cultivation of cotton is in Egypt and from 500 BC. Nowadays many millions of tonnes of cotton are produced worldwide (26MT of cotton were produced on over 33MHa in 2007/2008). Today the leading producers of cotton are India and China. The third largest producer (and the largest exporter) is the USA. Other leading producers include, Pakistan, Brazil, Uzbekistan, Australia, Turkey, Turkmenistan and Greece.


Scientific Name

Gossypium sp.

Common Names








G.barbadense, G. herbaceum, G. hirsutum, G arboreum and others

Occurrence & Agricultural Importance in this Country

Cultivation Areas

Cotton planting in Sudan goes back to the 19th century when it was first grown in Eastern Sudan (Tokar). Commercial growing began in 1905 with a pilot scheme at Zeidab. Following the establishment of the Sennar dam in 1925, allowing widespread improvement in irrigation, cotton has become a leading cash crop in Sudan, supported by the establishment of large governmental schemes with the participation of farmers. After the enforcement of the Gezira Scheme Act for the year 2005 this relationship has begun to change, with a relaxation of Government control. In future, more participation is expected between between Government, Farmers and the Private Sector.

Cotton in Sudan is grown on about 100 to 200KHa, varying from year to year.

Main Varieties

The main commercial varieties cultivated in Sudan include: Barakat (90), Barac ( 67) Acala, Albar (57) 12, Abdin, Hamid (BB-82)

Marketing Information and Uses


Textiles, Cotton oil and “cotton cake” for feed.


Most cotton produced (90%) in Sudan is exported as raw material and accordingly forms an important foreign exchange earner. In 2011 175 thousand bales of cotton (480 Lbs. each) were exported. Cotton is also processed locally for weaving and spinning as well a supply for the cotton oil industry. Sudan produces 4 types of cotton namely, extra-long, long, medium & short staples. Productivity is around 0.5 tons/feddan.

Crop Management (Cultivation conditions and methods)

Soil Type

Cotton succeeds in various soil types from heavy clay to light sandy soils; it also has a good tolerance to soil salinity but it requires good drainage. The soil must be thoroughly cultivated, leaving a crumbly tilth.


Cotton requires a warm, dry climate (optimum temperature: 25-35°C) for its cultivation. Cotton requires a warm, dry climate (optimum temperature: 25-35°C) for its cultivation, and a frost-free period of ~200 days is essential.

Water Requirements

Cotton is planted in Sudan on both flood irrigation systems and in rain-fed areas. Long season varieties are grown for 240 days will require around 4800 m3 of water per Feddan and short season varieties grown around 180 days and will require 3600 m3 of water per Feddan. Cotton cannot withstand high humidity or heavy rain

Nutrition Requirements

Soil should be subject to soil analysis for nutrient availability. Excess nitrogen can leads to excess vegetative growth and consequently lower yield.

Harvesting Period

Harvesting usually starts 135 days after planting for early season varieties and 170 days after planting for late season varieties. Normally harvest takes place when 45-50% of the cotton bolls open. Sequential harvesting is then onwards done every 14 days (3 to 5 picks) until all the crop is collected.

Harvesting Methods

Hand picking

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