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Race for Zimbabwean cotton intensifies
22
Nov '11
The fight for Zimbabwe's cotton continues to get acute as newer firms join the race to serve as contractors for seed cotton for the ongoing season.

In all 14 companies – Cargil, Sino Zimbabwe, Cotton Company of Zimbabwe, Olam, Alliance, Parrogate, Viridis, Romsdal, Insing, Grafax, CottZim, Fahad, Jimmac Zimbabwe Cotton and Southern Cotton Company – have registered themselves to serve as seed cotton contractors for 2011-12 season.

Serving as contractors, these firms would distribute seeds required by farmers for undertaking cotton cultivation, by setting up distribution points across the country, the Agricultural Marketing Authority (AMA) said.

As stated by AMA, Zimbabwe's cotton consumption till October 31 this year came to be 249.904 million kg as against the consumption of 93.44 million kg during the corresponding period of last year.

Zimbabwe's cotton exports are expected to grow by 20 percent from last year's 326,400 bales to 408,000 bales during this fiscal. The rise in exports is greatly supported by a rise in production which is attributable to legislative reforms that have brought stability to the sector.

The new laws aided establishment of a more transparent and stable legal framework governing trade relations between the cotton producers and ginners. This has perked up the supply of seeds and chemicals to small-scale cultivators, while restraining them from “side marketing” or selling their produce to a firm other than the ginnery that provided them with the inputs.

In order to protest against low prices being offered by local buyers, small farmers stopped selling their crops in the market during early July this year. Following this, the minimum procurement price was raised from US$ 0.75 per kg to US$ 0.85 per kg. According to AMA, at least one-fourth of the country's rural population depend on cotton cultivation for their livelihood.

Owing to its superior quality, Zimbabwean cotton usually attracts a premium in global markets. Hence, the Government has announced that it would prioritize the cotton and textile industry in its Industrial Development Policy to ensure economic development.

Stanislaus Mangoma, Director of Enterprise Development, Ministry of Industry and Commerce, said cotton industry is a major income and employment generator, which is a key to economic development and hence the Government has recognized textiles and garments as one of the priority sectors, which would be concentrated on in the current Industrial Development Policy.

He, however, added that it is required to introduce latest machineries in the sector to facilitate production of quality textiles, as the majority of the textile units were compelled to cease their businesses when they failed to introduce new advanced machines needed to produce viable products.

Fibre2fashion News Desk - India

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