The Sunday Mail
Cotton farmers in Zimbabwe delivered 116 025 tonnes of the crop last year, up from 82 000 tonnes in 2020, as Government support through subsidies and various inputs programs bear fruit.
In a trading update for the quarter ended December 31, 2021, Cotton Company of Zimbabwe (Cottco) acting company secretary, Mrs Jacqueline Dube, said outstanding payments to farmers would be cleared shortly.
“The third quarter typically signifies the end of Cottco’s buying season and the final intake stood at 116,052 MT compared to 82,479 MT in 2020,” she said.
“Whilst Cottco was able to pay farmers $3 billion from funding raised during the season, the company is looking to unlock a further $800 million to clear outstanding dues to farmers after the payment of the outstanding 2020 subsidy by Government.
“In order to ensure that cotton farming remains viable, Government generously committed an additional $22 per kg delivered by farmers as a subsidy payment.
“The total subsidy for 2021 is $2,53 billion and $500 million was released and paid to farmers during the period under review. The balance is anticipated shortly from Treasury.”
Mrs Dube said Cottco’s ginning schedule was delayed by power challenges, but 93 percent of the seed cotton intake had been ginned by December 31.
“Zimbabwean hand-picked cotton is in high demand and the company’s order book exceeds production volumes,” she said.
For the 2021/22 farming season, Mrs Dube said the late onset of the rains had resulted in planting delays with a sizeable crop being established 1-2 months later than normal.
“Depending on the length of the season and available heat units this could affect the maturity and fibre length of the output. Cottco’s ground staff is working with farmers to achieve the best possible results under the circumstances.
“The adoption of precision agriculture under the Cotton Pfumvudza/Intwasa program is also expected to improve the outlook,” she said.
Going forward, Mrs Dube said Cottco would focus on increasing value addition and use of technology in its processes to enhance operational efficiencies.
International lint prices surged to a 10-year high in 2021, peaking at 119,2 US cents per ounce in November, compared to average prices of 56 US cents that prevailed in 2020. – New Ziana