Export finished textiles, not cotton - Minister
Mr. Clement Dlamini
According to Swaziland's Minister of Agriculture, Clement Dlamini, instead of raw materials, the country should export finished products.
The Minister said this while speaking to the cotton cultivators during formal launch of the cotton ginnery to mark the beginning of the new cotton season at Sikhulile Cotton Ginnery. He stated that his Ministry was involved in diversification of agriculture and was conducting commercialization programmes to boost agricultural production and returns.
“It is really delightful that, at this early stage of the season, cotton cultivators have already begun to sell their produce in bulk quantity. Also, this may lead people to believe that still there is more produce in the fields which would soon hit the ginnery”, Dlamini said. The Minister added that if there was no weather scare, this definitely could have been taken for granted.
He was, however, hopeful that the farmers would not give up cotton cultivation, as presently cotton is the sole livelihood for dry land farmers, particularly as it is a cash crop.
He remarked that cotton provided survival support to many farmers in the agro-ecological zones where maize production failed.
The Minister said that it was a positive development that the country no more exported cotton lint, but instead processed the materials of the domestic textile sector, which has decided to source the commodity from domestic market.
Several people including scientists have opined that adding value to raw materials before forwarding it to the export market would be in the interest of the country. The Minister said that greater importance should be attached to cotton cultivation as the domestic cotton production is still much below the requirement of the domestic textile industry.
He admired the domestic financial institutions for the support they have extended to the Swaziland Cotton Board to enable it to procure cotton from local growers. It is expected from the textile mills that they would provide all possible support to the Board to enable it to procure all the cotton from growers and that too without experiencing any financial burden.
He added by saying that the earlier, the Board receives payment from the textile companies, the better availability of liquidity it will have to purchase cotton from the cultivators. The textile firms can even make advance payments for lint, once they develop a clear idea about their requirements.
“Swaziland has developed the potential to gin and process cotton into fabric. This is not anything less than a dream come true for the African country”, he concluded.
Fibre2fashion News Desk - India