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Mali Country suspends most cotton ginning after January rain

This is not the first time rains in the Sahel region have affected cotton processing in Africa's second-largest producer. Mali missed its 2015-2016 production target for raw cotton by 100,000 tonnes after late rains.

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A worker fabricates a plastic bag designed to hold cotton at the Badenya Company in Koutiala, Mali August 31, 2012. REUTERS/Joe Penney play A worker fabricates a plastic bag designed to hold cotton at the Badenya Company in Koutiala, Mali August 31, 2012. REUTERS/Joe Penney (Reuters)

Mali's state-run cotton company will suspend ginning in most regions after unseasonable rains, the latest setback for the West Africa nation's crop in a season hit by unusual weather, the company said on Thursday.

Mali should be in its dry season but two days of heavy rain have drenched crops in the fields and rendered them temporarily unfit for processing, the deputy director of the CMDT cotton company, Abdoulaye Dolo, told national radio on Thursday.

It was not immediately clear how long the suspension will last.

"We cannot remove the cotton soaked by the rain," Dolo said. "We must leave it to dry before removing it so this will affect the pace of ginning."

Ginning is the process that separates fibers from seeds before routing them to textile mills.

Mali's cotton season, which normally ends on March 31, could be extended if delays continue, he said.

This is not the first time rains in the Sahel region have affected cotton processing in Africa's second-largest producer. Mali missed its 2015-2016 production target for raw cotton by 100,000 tonnes after late rains.

CMDT said it had produced 550,370 tonnes of raw cotton, about even with last year's crop but significantly less than its 650,000-tonne target.

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