The Japanese Government is supporting a new project that will study the feasibility of re-introducing cotton cultivation in Malanje province in Angola.

To be implemented through the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) in partnership with the Ministry of Agriculture of Angola, the initiative will see technicians sent to the African country to carry out experimental cultivation of cotton in the Capanda Agricultural Hub.

The study will involve field trials with different varieties of cotton using a drip irrigation system, with the support of international experts to "assess the adaptability and yield of different varieties of seed cotton," local reports say. 

The support from JICA will also ensure the "acquisition of irrigation equipment, seeds, fertilisers, cotton pressing, and other needs," according to the Lusa news agency.

Angolan cotton production is understood to have reached 86,000 tons in 1973, making it one of the world's largest producers. However, a war that ravaged the country following proclamation of independence in 1975 virtually ended cotton production.

In July, the coordinator of the cotton production programme at the Ministry of Agriculture, Carlos Canza, announced the intention of a Japanese company to deploy a more profitable experimental system in an area of 10,000 hectares, with the aim of growing five tons of cotton per hectare. This would allow Angola to move from an importing country to an exporter of raw material for the textile industry.