Story by Tapiwa Machemedze
Government has launched the cotton marketing season, with the foreign currency retention being increased from 75 to 85 percent.
Cotton growers who spoke to the ZBC News welcomed the 85 percent foreign currency retention.
“Government helped us with inputs, from herbicides to sprays. I was contracted by Cottco and I’m grateful to AMA which acted as go-between and increased our foreign currency retention from 75 to 85 percent,” noted a cotton farmer, Ms Letia Mutara.
Another farmer, Mr John Makwara said, “I’m happy that cotton sales have started and we have started to get money. I’m happy that I grew cotton. Regards buying, we were given advances and managed to pay fees for our kids and buy other things.”
The Agriculture Marketing Authority (AMA) has set up common buying points to curb the scourge of side marketing.
“We are well prepared. We have 616 buying points meaning all farmers will get a fair chance to sell cotton we have 6 contractors that will be led by Cottco which contracted 85 percent of growers,” said AMA CEO, Mr Clever Isaya.
152 000 tonnes of cotton are expected to be sold this season from 300 000 registered growers.
“Cotton is a very important crop under the Agriculture and Food systems transformation plan and in line with vision 2030. We want to go beyond what we produced at peak in 2011,” noted the Minister of Lands, Agriculture, Fisheries, Water and Rural Development, Dr Anxious Masuka.
A plea was made for the resuscitation of value addition facilities by Mashonaland Central Minister of State for Provincial Affairs and Devolution, Senator Monica Mavhunga.
“We have a ginnery is Muzarabani, what’s left is for value addition. Long ago, we used to have Glendale Spinners. We would want cotton to leave Mbire and Muzarabani as oil and as clothes,” she said.
Grade A cotton will sell at 46 cents per kilogramme, with 85 percent being paid out in United States dollars, while 15 percent will be paid in Zimbabwe dollars at the prevailing interbank rate.
Through the Presidential Free Inputs Scheme, COTTCO financed 85 percent of cotton growers.