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Friday, July 12, 2024

Cotton marketing season extended to end of August

Story by John Nhandara

THE cotton marketing season has been extended to the end of this month with over 60 000 metric tonnes of the white gold having been delivered so far.

The country surpassed last year’s cotton seed output after farmers delivered 67 000 metric tonnes of white gold to the Cotton Company of Zimbabwe (COTTCO) as compared to 46 700 metric tonnes produced last year.

The cotton marketing season has also been extended to the end of this month to allow farmers to deliver their crops in the two-week mop-up exercise.

According to COTTCO Corporate Communications Manager, Ms Constance Makoni, over US$14 million has also been paid to cotton farmers so far, with the bulk of the cotton coming from Gokwe, Sanyati Chiredzi and Muzarabani.

“We have received 67 064 metric tonnes of seed cotton from farmers and we have paid US$14.8 million. Our deliveries are coming mainly from our cotton hub which is Gokwe and Chiredzi. We also have other areas like Chinhoyi Muzarabani and Mutoko. We also have Lisulu which covers Binga, Lupane and some other areas in Matabeleland provinces. We are faring very well compared to our intake last year,” she said.

Cotton Producers and Marketers Association of Zimbabwe President, Mr Stewart Mubonderi said farmers started receiving their payments after the government injected US$30 million expressing satisfaction with the intake so far.

“There were delays in the payments of our farmers due to monetary policy changes which took place. However government disbursed US$30 million and increased the US retention to 85 per cent and this enabled our farmers to get paid in the shortest time possible,” he said.

Zimbabwe National Farmers Union President, Mr Shadreck Makombe said although the cotton marketing season had a false start due to delays in payment of farmers, the situation has improved after the government’s intervention in the disbursement of funds to ensure timely payment of cotton farmers.

“The beginning had a false start in terms of payments. The government’s intervention helped to sanitise the industry which had been affected. From there payments improved. Some farmers already got their money while some are in the process of receiving their money but generally, the situation on payment of farmers improved as the season progressed and even deliveries improved,” he said.

Government is this year targeting US$70 million from cotton exports.

Meanwhile, COTTCO has started distributing inputs for the summer cropping season with 690 000 metric tonnes of fertiliser having been availed to farmers.

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