Agric subsidies recommended

The Government should consider subsidising cotton and tobacco production to resolve the price conflicts that have characterised the marketing of the two crops in the past seasons, experts have said.
Cotton growers must also add value to their crop to guarantee higher returns.
A Harare-based agronomist, Mr Obert Jiri, said budgetary support was necessary as crop production costs remain too steep for most farmers.

Mr Jiri also advised the Tobacco Industry and Marketing Board to register more tobacco buyers to avoid collusion through increased competition.

“Raising money through agro-bills remains a challenge considering the present liquidity challenges. Government should make a budgetary commitment towards subsidies.

“Also, cotton growers, especially those not under contract, should be able to gin their own cotton through an independent ginning company and export it as lint, which fetches a better price.”

Another agronomist, Mr Peter Gambara, said low cotton prices were linked to major producers who keep stocks from previous seasons, thereby causing a decline in international prices.

He said the Cotton Ginners’ Association (CGA) and farmer representatives should negotiate prices under the supervision of the Agriculture Marketing Authority.

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