The scheme aims to lift cotton production to 1.4m packs from 620,000 packs currently

The scheme aims to lift cotton production to 1.4m packs from 620,000 packs currently

As it struggles to deal with soaring cotton prices, Mexico has launched an initiative to make its own and cut its growing apparel supply chain costs.

Under the plan, the country hopes to boost production to 397,00 packs and increase harvesting space to 300,000 hectares from 107,000 now by 2016. The scheme also aims to lift cotton production to 1.4m packs from 620,000 packs currently.

The initiative will prove a boon for the textiles industry which is bracing for lower growth this year amid soaring raw-material prices. Currently, the country needs to import 1.3m packs of cotton to meet its textile production requirements.

Production increases will be carried out in the regions of Tamaulipas, La Laguna, Chihuahua, Baja California and Sonora.

Jorge Antonio Median, director for the government unit behind the initiative, Sistema Producto Algodon, said the action will generate 7,000 direct jobs at a time when Mexican unemployment is rising due to a weakening economy.

"Mexico has ideal agricultural conditions in different regions and the technology and infrastructure to increase out cotton yield," Median says.

Bolstering cotton output would add 0.7% to GDP and raise wages for more than 500,000 producers, he adds.

According to Medina, Mexico has the third-highest cotton yield per hectare in the world, at 6.40 packs. That has improved from 4.62 hectares in 2000 before the country improved harvesting efficiency.