Cotton buying season kicks off next week

29 May, 2024 - 14:05 0 Views
Cotton buying season kicks off next week Cotton

eBusiness Weekly

Business Writer

The 2024 cotton buying season is set to open next Monday, with cotton companies finalising the process of obtaining their buying licenses.

“The season is beginning on June 3, (2024) and cotton companies are finalising their registration,” an official with the Agricultural and Marketing Authority said.

This season is however primed to be the worst in recent years due to the devastating drought. A mere 40 000 tonnes of cotton are expected, a significant drop from about 92 000 tonnes achieved last season.

The drought’s impact caused by El Nino phenomena has been severe. While cotton is considered drought resistant and less susceptible to water stress, the extend of the dry conditions were so severe.

The drought impact extends beyond cotton as it has also affected maize, the staple and even traditional grain crops such as soghum and rapoko.

While payment modalities have not yet been published, 75 percent is likely to be paid in foreign currency while the remainder is paid in local currency at the official bank rate.

The RBZ has standardised export surrenders at 75 percent.

The lowest grade fetched US40c per kg while farmers are paid US46c for the premium quality grade (A).

Cotton is a vital crop in Zimbabwe, particularly for marginalized regions.

Traditionally, it has been a crucial source of income and livelihood for many rural communities.

In recognition of this importance, the Government, through the Free Presidential Inputs Scheme established in 2014, has been providing significant support to cotton farmers.

The scheme offers free inputs such as fertilizers, seeds, and chemicals, and it finances a substantial portion – around 85 percent – of cotton production in the country.

At its peak, Zimbabwe’s cotton industry thrived, producing a remarkable 352 000 tonnes of cotton during the 2010/2011 season.

However, recent years have seen a decline in production, largely attributed to recurring droughts.

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