Harare (New Ziana)-The 2022 cotton selling season has started amid fears of a decline in output owing to harsh cropping conditions and unattractive prices during previous marketing periods.
Cotton Company of Zimbabwe (Cottco) managing director Pius Manamike said the selling season started on a high note.
“The official start of the selling season was last week on Monday the 13th of June. As Cottco, we started buying yesterday (Monday). I can say so far so good.
“We are back to the original model where we pay the farmer on the spot and, given the price that was announced by the government last week of US$0.30 per kg, the farmers are very happy with that price and that they are being paid their money on the spot,” he said.
Manamike said the national crop output was expected to be lower than last season.
“According to the assessment done by us and AMA (the Agricultural Marketing Authority), for the national crop we are looking at 116 000 tons. Last year it was around 132 000 tons, so there is a decline,” he said.
He attributed the decrease in production to unfavourable pricing and payment models and a poor cropping season.
“Some of the farmers refused to go back to the fields citing late payments in the past two seasons then the second issue was the weather we only got our first effective rains on the 15th of December which was way late so we had a very late crop this year and that affects our yields,” he said.
The government introduced a number of support programmes such as the Presidential Input Scheme and Pfumvudza/Intwasa through which farmers are given seed, fertilisers and chemicals for free, to boost production.
The introduction of support and competitive prices have seen many farmers returning to grow cotton after having abandoned it in favour of other cash crops such as tobacco, whose marketing was orderly and prices were profitable.