Two new companies apply to contract cotton growers
Harare – The Agricultural Marketing Authority (AMA) says two new companies have applied to finance cotton production in the 2013/14 cropping season. This brings to 12 the number of companies that will contract cotton growers in the forthcoming season.
AMA statutes clearly state that cotton merchants can only purchase the crop whose production they financed, at the same time compelling the growers to sell the white gold to those who contracted them.
Any transaction outside these parameters is regarded as side marketing, which is an offence. The Cotton Ginners Association (CGA) is targeting to contract cotton growers to produce 250 000 metric tons in the 2013/14 cropping season.
AMA has set a minimum funding of US$1 million for every 4 000 tonnes. In a statement, AMA has said more than 10 companies have applied to contract growers this season.
“A total of 12 contractors have applied to register for the forthcoming season of which two are new entrants,” the authority has said.
The authority could not disclose the names of the new players; however, investigations by The Southern Times revealed that the two are Chinese and Indian firms. Cotton ginners or contractors are now making final preparations for the 2013/14 cropping season.
Meanwhile, AMA is encouraging contractors to increase investment to revamp cotton production, which was on a decline.
“The authority is encouraging increased production of seed cotton through the following measures – encouraging contractors to increase their investment in inputs and ancillary production support and providing for protecting the interests of both farmers and contractors,” AMA has said.
AMA says it is encouraging competition among buyers during the marketing season so that the farmers are paid the highest possible prices.
According to CGA, this year’s crop intake was only 143 million kilograms compared to 350 million in the previous year against a target of 250 million kilograms.
The target was missed largely due to bad weather, an erratic start to the rainfall season, poor distribution of rain in the growing season and failure by some contractors to timeously avail farming inputs.
The crop was worth about US$71.5 million compared to US$129.5 million from the 2012 crop. The average price of the crop was 50 cents per kilogram in 2013 compared to 37 US cents per same unit in 2012.
In Zimbabwe, cotton production ‑ a source of livelihood for over 250 000 households ‑ is largely undertaken in the drier parts of the country which include Gokwe, Midlands Province, Muzarabani Mashonaland Central Province, Chipinge, Manicaland Province and Chiredzi, Masvingo province.