Nicaragua: return of King Cotton
Cotton is making a comeback. An important NIcaraguan crop as late as the 1970s, production dropped during decades of conflict. Now, a combination of high international prices and a growing maquiladora industry, are stimulating a revival. Cotton prices during the past year have been in the range of $1.10 per pound, double what they were five years ago. Organic cotton especially could command premium prices. Meanwhile, Nicaragua's apparel sector has in recent years been growing consistently. The sector includes major manufacturers such as Cone Denim and Gildan. A free trade agreement lets NIcaragua export significant volumes of cotton clothing to the United States, duty-free. Home-grown cotton spun into fabric would let clothing manufacturers avoid the cost of importing cloth from foreign - mainly Asian - producers. For its part, Nicaragua has favorable cotton-growing conditions, including warm weather and abundant rainfall, along with low-cost labor.
- Fabric makers