Cotton selling season smooth, says growers association
Harare — The 2017 cotton marketing season is progressing well despite a few minor hiccups like cash shortages, the industry’s representative body has said.
The cotton selling season started in May and Cottco, the sole buyer, hopes to buy 110 000 tonnes of the crop which was grown under the presidential input scheme.
Cotton Producers and Marketers Association of Zimbabwe national chairman Stewart Mubonderi said the 2017 cotton selling season was much better compared to last year.
“For starters, the numbers of buying points were increased from last year’s 200 to 442 which means farmers had to travel short distances. Also introduction of mobile payment platforms like Ecocash and Telecash eased cash challenges,” he said.
Mubonderi said the quality of cotton had also improved from last year.
“The quality of cotton is very good than last year as it also pushed government to increase the price of the crop,” he said.
He said farmers had also started receiving inputs for the 2017/18 summer cropping season.
“As we are delivering our produce, inputs have started to be distributed which gives us hope as farmers that it is beneficial to grow cotton than any other crop,” he said.
The government re-established itself as a major player in cotton production, at one time Zimbabwe’s top agricultural export, through its recent takeover of Cottco.
In recent years, production of cotton significantly dropped owing to high cost of production and unending fights over pricing between farmers and merchants.
But during the 2016/17 cropping season, the government supplied $36 million free cotton inputs to growers through Cottco to boost production of the crop. The inputs program is continuing in the 2017/18 cropping season.
Zimbabwe expects cotton production to reach 110 000 tonnes this year. – New Ziana.