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Abstract

1. Farm yields are one key indicator of the productivity of a cotton sector, and an important determinant of returns to farmers (and thus of cotton’s ability to reduce poverty) 2. Zambia’s relatively good performance on input credit provision means that it has been able to raise yields since reforms in 1994; yet the rate of increase has been slow, and yields remain well below those found in countries of West and Central Africa. 3. Average returns to farmers do not appear to be any higher in Zambia, with good performance on input credit provision, than in Tanzania, where input use and yields are low. 4. Zambia’s concentrated structure gives it the potential to substantially increase farm productivity, and for cotton to make but relatively little of this potential has yet been realized. The key challenge for sector stakeholders, once the Cotton Act is passed, is to agree on a coordinated approach to address this problem

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