Disband Cotton Ginners’ Association: Parliament
Wednesday, 27 June 2012 12:33
PARLIAMENT yesterday called for the disbanding of the Cotton Ginners Association, accusing it of exploiting cotton farmers.
The legislators made the remarks when members of the association appeared before the Portfolio Committee on Agriculture, Lands and Rural Resettlement.
The CGA gave evidence on the impasse between farmers and ginners over cotton prices.
Farmers have refused to sell their crop since the marketing season commenced in April over the low prices being offered by merchants.
Muzarabani South representative Cde Edward Raradza said there was collusion among the CAG members that was detrimental to the well being of farmers, most of whom are in rural areas.
Cde Raradza said it was disturbing that farmers were getting inadequate inputs at high prices.
“CGA is not controlling input prices, but becomes active during the marketing season.
“Ginners had pegged their inputs at higher prices since they anticipated an increase of prices on the global market.
Now prices are low they do not want to revise input prices downwards,” he said.
He added: “We need to have sanity in the industry and the only way that can happen is by having each company run its own affairs.
“They want Government to subsidise cotton farming for them to benefit yet they are not giving them enough inputs.”
Cde Raradza said it was important to find a solution acceptable to both parties to ensure that farmers have resources to plant the crop in the coming season.
“We are aware that international prices are low but we should find a way to move forward.
“The ginners can reduce their inputs prices or offer higher cotton prices that will allow farmers to return to the fields next season,” he said.
Bikita South representative Mr Jani Varandeni said communal farmers had lost trust in the CGA.
“The CGA has failed farmers. All cotton is being bought at grade D prices (which are the lowest). You cannot tell me that all cotton is of that grade.
“The CGA should at least offer middle grade prices (grade B or C) or let farmers sell to anyone they want and then pay back their inputs loans using cash,” he said.
Mr Varandeni said it was better to allow farmers to sell their crop to buyers offering better prices and pay back ginners in cash instead of delivering their crop at give away prices they were offering.
The chairman of the committee and Chikomba Central representative Mr Moses Jiri said it was important that the ginners and farmers share the losses this year.
“If there are losses we should share with the farmers and not pass the whole burden to farmers,” he said.
CGA chairman and Cottco managing director, Mr David Machingaidze said the association was formed to protect contractors from side marketing.
“Removing CGA will not help the situation.
“We were making a loss of 40 percent of our investment and since its formation, side marketing has declined,” he said.
He said it was important that the solution to the price crisis is found so that farmers can sell their crop early before the quality and weight deteriorates.
“The current situation is not affecting farmers.
“As ginners we are no longer sure if farmers will sell the crop, if they will produce the crop next season or if ginners will have control over the crop. We are no longer bankable,” he said.
Mr Machingaidze said instead of arguing over prices which the local industry do not have control over, people should be discussing boosting productivity so that farmers can realise profits.
He said the cotton ginners were prepared to re-engage farmers in price negotiations and would take some of the recommendations from the parliamentary committee.