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Zimbabwe's 2012 cotton output to increase

Mar '12
As per the preliminary estimates, Zimbabwe's cotton production for the 2012 marketing season is expected to rise from last year's 249,000 tons to between 265,000-280,000 tons, Deputy Minister for Agriculture, Mechanisation and Irrigation Development, Seiso Moyo, said while speaking at the 10th African Cotton Congress.

Next to tobacco, cotton is Zimbabwe's second highest foreign exchange earning agri-crop, with more than 250,000 families in drier regions of the country, including Mashonaland Central province's Muzarabani and Masvingo's Chiredzi, depending on it for their livelihood.

Since mid-1990s, after dissolution of the Cotton Marketing Board, which exercised a monopoly over the industry, a constant rise has been noted in Zimbabawe's cotton output, Mr. Moyo said.

Zimbabwean cotton cultivators earned US$ 200 million during last year, in spite of the price row with ginners marring the 2010 selling season, causing some farmers to shift to other crops or withhold their produce, Mr. Moyo said.

He urged the ginners to offer feasible prices so as to ensure development in the country's cotton sector. Also, he urged the cotton industry to not to set cotton seed prices at such unfeasibly high levels that would compel the farmers to shift to other cash crops.

The Minister also assured continuous Government support to cotton cultivation in the country.

African Cotton Association (ACA) Chairman, Mr. Iya Mohammed from Cameron, said African nations should join forces to combat injustices in international trade.

Presently, African cotton is enduring tough competition from genetically modified varieties and also from subsidised crop cultivated in the US and Europe, he said.

He added that he finds need to form technical committees and formulate policies to raise the competitiveness of domestic cotton, as more than 27 million people across the African continent directly or indirectly depend on cotton cultivation or its value chain for their livelihood.

Fibre2fashion News Desk - India

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