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Swazi cotton farmers receive E9mn for harvest
Aug '14
Cotton farmers in Swaziland, located in the Southern part of the African continent, have been paid E9 million for their harvest, which is more than the expected amount, as they still continue to prepare their harvest for collection, according to Swazi OBSERVER.

Swaziland Cotton Board Chief Executive Officer (CEO) Daniel Khumalo said that, although they were expecting more harvest from the farmers, they had given this payment for over 600 metric tons of harvested cotton. They are still waiting for more yields, as farmers preferred to keep their harvest and sell it to the board when they needed the money.

The CEO said that as they need to transport the crop to the ginnery, they have provided contractual employment to industrialists, who own trucks, to collect the cotton from the farmers living in all the four regions of the country. Due to these arrangements with the truck owners, the Cotton Board has disbursed about E 600,000 to the truck owners for collecting cotton directly from the farmers and transporting the same to the ginnery, he further added.

Khumalo said operating this way worked well with the farmers as they would not have to bear the transportation costs, since as soon as the farmers packaged the cotton, the board took the responsibility to collect it from them, and settled the full amount for their harvest.

However, disapproving the poor harvest this year, the CEO added that there was only one variety of cotton available from South Africa, which took a long time to grow, due to the timing and the intensity of the drought experienced in January. He said they were trying to convince more farmers to start farming cotton since it could help in the improvement of the economy through involvement of different sectors in its value chain.

Meanwhile, after experiencing the reduction in the production of cotton due to drought, the Swaziland Cotton Board is exploring the introduction of genetically modified cotton in the country. The CEO said the environmental laws of the country do not allow them to use the available short season cotton variety since they were genetically modified. Explaining the process of introducing the GM crop variety, he said they had already applied to the Swaziland Environmental Authority (SEA) and were waiting for it to be assessed.

The Big Bend cotton ginnery in Swaziland, operational since April 2014, and employing 84 workers has ginned about 1,200 metric tons of the harvested cotton, he said.

Fibre2fashion News Desk-India

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