COTTON growers are refusing to sell their crop at prices below the recently Government gazetted US 77 cents per kilogramme. After the announcement of the new prices, farmers flocked to deliver their crop.
However, they realised the ginners had not reviewed the prices upwards.
The farmers said they would continue holding onto their crop until buyers increase prices.
In Shamva, farmers reported that since the announcement of the new prices buyers had not been coming to buy the crop.
The farmers argued that the buyers later returned offering 35c/kg.
An official with a cotton company yesterday said buyers in rural areas were buying the crop at US 35 cents because they were awaiting memos from their head offices.
“There is nothing officials at the buying points can do. We wait for a memo from the head office. We work under instructions and will only review prices after communication from our superiors,” he said.
Farmers appealed to Government to save them from the situation. “We have been told that prices have increased and now buyers are not buying while those who are buying are using old prices. What will Government then do . . . we are confused,” said Mr Raymond Munyuru of Shamva.
Ginners are reportedly approaching the Ministry of Agriculture, Mechanisation and Irrigation Development to map the way forward. Agriculture Minister Joseph Made said ginners were making individual representations to his office.
“Individual companies are coming to me with their cases. One company has indicated that it has been selling cotton outside the country and has not been paid yet.
While others, especially established companies, are making profits others are not.
“We will look into that together with other responsible ministers but at the end of the day the Cabinet position should prevail,” he said.
“I appeal to each cotton company to bring forward its challenges. There will be an amicable solution to the problem but it is also important that ginners should charge farmers price of the cost of production,” he said.
Minister Made said he was aware of what was happening in terms of the drought in North and South America and floods in Asia.
“We know what is going to happen to lint prices,” he said.