Cotton farmers withhold crop

Most cotton farmers in Matabeleland are reluctant to deliver their crop to the ginners as they say the recently announced prices are too low.

The Agricultural Marketing Authority said it would pay 36c per kg for Grade D cotton while grade C will be sold at 40 – 43c, Grade B cotton at 44c and Grade A 48 – 50c.

“Anything less than a dollar per kg will not see farmers going back to the fields this year. Production costs, especially labour and chemicals, have become unsustainable. AMA should have factored in these costs before announcing the new prices,” said Terrence Moyo, a cotton farmer from Nkayi.

As a result of the price impasse, Moyo said most farmers in the area had not started picking their crop and were worried that it might be damaged by livestock and cold weather.

Another cotton farmer, Gilbert Sabau, urged the government to intervene and help establish acceptable prices, adding that ginneries were also short-changing farmers through side marketing.

“Ginners from Harare have invaded the area offering prices as low as 25c per kg. Farmers are desperate because they want cash to pay school fees and buy inputs for the next coming season,” said Sabau.

The Zimbabwe Farmers Union executive director, Paul Zakariya, said the AMA prices were provisional and there was a likelihood that they would improve as negotiations between farmers and buyers were ongoing.

According to cotton outlook figures, global production this year rose by 16 % to 27,1 million tonnes due to high prices offered lastseason. The previous prices motivated higher production, with area under cotton cultivation this year rising to 432 709 hectares from last season’s 379 689 hectares.

Cotton prices in Zimbabwe have been suppressed for years, forcing farmers to shift to tobacco.

Post published in: News

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *