By ZBC Reporter
The new cotton statutory instrument which regulates the marketing of the white gold has been welcomed by farmers as step in the right direction in creating a level playing field for the industry.
Gone are the days when fly by night cotton buyers would entice farmers to side market cotton grown under the presidential inputs scheme or undermine efforts by government to earn the full value of the white gold.
Zimbabwe farmers Union Secretary General Paul Zakariah is upbeat the new Cotton Statutory Instrument (SI) 96 of 2021 will not only bring sanity to the sector, but has the potential to unlock full value to growers.
The new cotton SI is a welcome development, it will ensure that farmers get their money not groceries for their sweat. It will plug side marketing and ensure contractors buy what they sponsored. The issue bogus contractors are set to come to an end, what is needed now is for relevant authorities to clearly explain the contents so that it boost confidence of all stakeholders, noted Zakariah.
Cotton Company of Zimbabwe Chief Executive Pious Manamike underscored the need for government to engage relevant players in the industry for clarification of the new SI ahead of the marketing season.
We are hopeful that government will engage us and other players to clarify certain sections of the control of sale of cotton, because the timing of the announcements has come when some negotiations with banks who sponsor us were at advance stage and we need to build confidence following the pronouncement, he said.
The government gazetted SI 96 of 2021 stipulates that cotton is now regarded as a controlled product.
This means that anyone who breaches or side markets cotton will be guilty of an offence and liable to a fine or face imprisonment for a period not exceeding two years.