In a speech read on his behalf by the Permanent Secretary in his Ministry Ngoni Masoka, Agriculture, Mechanisation and Irrigation Development Minister Joseph Made last Friday said an all stakeholder consultative approach would make it possible to effectively monitor developments in the cotton industry.
He was addressing delegates attending the Quton Seed Company’s Annual Technical Field Day in Kadoma. Delegates from regional countries such as Malawi, Zambia, Mozambique and Swaziland attended the event that also attracted local stakeholders in the industry.
“This framework (Statutory Instrument 142 of 2009 as amended in SI 63 of 2011) seeks to bring to the farmer-ginner partnerships orderliness, fairness, timeliness, reliability, consistency in volumes, quality and most importantly, the presentation of the final product that competes on the global market,” he said.
Minister Made said the prices for cotton lint were averaging US$1 per kilogramme making them far lower than the US$2,40 per kilogramme offered in the 2010/11 marketing board.
“We are told the high prices of 2010 were caused by deficits in stocks of lint on the world market in 2008. The forecasts are that prices might hover around US$1,20 per kilogramme for some time this coming season.
“Higher yields per unit area are therefore the only solution for the farmer to earn better returns,” he said.
The average regional price for seed cotton is currently at US$0,60 per kilogramme and government as well as the cotton industry are closely following the developments as the marketing season approaches.
Cotton, Minister Made said, is an important crop in Zimbabwe and a household crop in many African countries. It is usually referred to as the “White Gold” because it brings the much-needed income to farmers.
Zimbabwe has a ginning capacity of 750 000 tonnes of seed cotton. The current production estimates are however, pegged at about 370 000 tonnes.
Minister Made said Government expected to see the country achieving optimum capacity and increasing production to exceed one million tonnes.