Chipinge farmers smuggle cotton to Mozambique

Tawanda Mangoma in CHECHECHE
Chipinge South Member of Parliament Cde Enock Porusingazi has called upon the Zimbabwe Republic Police to adequately equip its border control squad with vehicles as a measure of improving its efficiency in the fight against smuggling.

His concern came following reports that cotton farmers along the boundary areas were smuggling the cotton crop financed under the Presidential Inputs Scheme into Mozambique, where they are selling for cash. Cde Porusingazi said the police should up their game and bar the farmers who were smuggling cotton bales into Mozambique.

“The problem of farmers, who are crossing illegally and sell their cotton in Mozambique is growing significantly,” he said.

“The issue is that some farmers, especially those along the border with Mozambique, do not accept payments using mobile money transactions mainly due to the unavailability of network.”

Cde Porusingazi said the farmers were opting for a cash cotton price of 30 cents per kilogramme, which they were being paid in Mozambique, while in Zimbabwe they received $40 in cash for every bale delivered and the rest is paid via EcoCash.

“The greatest challenge is that the police manning the border line are incapacitated,” he said. “They don’t have vehicles or even motor cycles for them to execute their duties swiftly and this makes it easy for someone to smuggle a bale of cotton.”

Cotton Producers and Marketers Association chairman Mr Steward Mubonderi said farmers should embrace the use of plastic money, as this was the way to go.

He said there were more benefits in selling cotton locally.

“As an association, we understand there is still a gap which needs to be filled regarding the use of plastic money amongst some of our farmers,” said Mr Mubonderi.

“But the truth is that you receive more benefits when you sell your crop locally. First you are paid 47 cents per kg and then you will receive back-pays after grading, which gives the farmer more benefit for every kilogramme of cotton delivered.”

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