ZIMBABWE’S cotton selling season has begun and Cottco Ltd, which is the sole authorised buyer, has set aside $44 million to buy the crop.
This year, Zimbabwe is expected to produce 110 000 kg after a record low output of 30 000 kg last year.
Cottco managing director Mr Pius Manamike said the company had set aside $44 million to buy cotton during the selling season which opened on May 22.
“We are expecting more than 110 000 tonnes of cotton. We have set aside $44 million to buy the cotton,” he said.
Mr Manamike said Cottco would pay 55 cents per kilogramme for the top grade of cotton and 40 cents for the lowest Grade D crop.
“We are encouraging quality cotton, hence we will be paying grade linked prices. Grade A — 55 cents, Grade B —50 cents, Grade C — 45 cents and Grade D 40 cents.
“As we buy, we are paying the D grade price of 40 cents then after grading, we will pay the grade related price adjustments being 15 cents for A, 10 cents for B and 5 cents for C,” he said.
Mr Manamike said Cottco would buy cotton at over 400 points.
“We have 433 buying points covering the Midlands, Matabeleland North, Masvingo, Manicaland, Mashonaland East, Mashonaland central and Mashonaland West with the main areas being Gokwe North and South, Binga, Sanyati, Kadoma, Chiredzi, Checheche, Nyamaropa, Mutoko, Mt Darwin, Rushinga, Muzarabani, Mushumbi, Chinhoyi and Karoi,” he said.
The Government re-established itself as a major player in cotton production, at one time Zimbabwe’s top agricultural export, through its recent takeover of Cottco.
In recent years, production of cotton significantly dropped owing to high cost of production and unending fights over pricing between farmers and merchants.
But during the 2016/17 cropping season, Government supplied $36 million free cotton inputs to growers through Cottco to boost production of the crop. — New Ziana.