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Cotton marketing season starts next week

Martin Kadzere Business Reporter
The 2018 cotton marketing season is expected to begin next week with farmers and authorities finalising payment modalities, a farmer representative body has said.

At a recent meeting, farmers and the authorities provisionally agreed growers would be paid cash amounting to US$10 and 150 RTGS dollars, while the remainder will be transferred in mobile or bank accounts for at least 200 kilogrammes delivered, Cotton Producers and Marketers Association chairman Mr Steward Mubonderi said.

Farmers will be paid US$5 and 150 RTGS dollars for a delivery of between 150kgs and 199kgs while the remainder will be deposited into mobile or bank accounts.

For a delivery of less than 150kgs, the farmers will be paid cash of 150 RTGS dollars.

“This is what we have provisionally agreed on and a statement signed by both parties will be released soon,” said Mr Mubonderi.

Government pegged the price of cotton at RTGS 1,95 per kg for this season, up from 47c last marketing season.

However, farmers are concerned that rising inflation would eventually erode the values.

The industry is still conducting validation exercise to determine potential output after the crop was affected by prolonged dry spells experienced during the last season.

Zimbabwe cotton production has over the past two years, been on a rebound, increasing from 28 000 tonnes in 2015 to 142 000 tonnes last year. This was largely due to the participation of the Government in cotton production through Presidential Inputs Scheme.

Exports also increased and last year, the country generated about US$80 million from ginned cotton.

Nearly 400 000 households are being supported under the programme with each getting inputs such as planting seed, fertilisers and chemicals. The Government had to intervene as it had become apparent that the industry was heading for collapse and this was partly due to migration of farmers to crops like tobacco.

The exit of private companies such as Cargill, which cited persistent losses largely resulting from poor recoveries also resulted in production taking a steep decline.

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