Cottco to build oil expression plant

Michael Tome Business Reporter

COTTCO Holdings has started setting up an oil expression plant in Gokwe in the Midlands Province as the company aligns with the Government’s rural transformation and development agenda.

In the company’s trading update for the 14 months to August 2023, Cottco indicated that the funds to kick-start the project have been availed while civil works were in progress.

Cottco expects to commission the plant, with the capacity of crushing 60 tonnes of cotton seed per day, early next year.

“Cottco has paid a deposit and commenced site clearance for a 60 tonnes per day oil expression plant to be located in Gokwe. Commissioning of the plant is targeted for early 2024 and is expected to contribute towards rural transformation and development,” company secretary Ms Eunice Mupanduki said. A recent survey shows that Zimbabwe uses 30 percent of locally grown cotton and 70 percent is exported to textile mills around the world, thus failing to exploit a competitive advantage in the cotton value chain considering the country’s ability to grow the raw material.

However, the sector has been facing a myriad of challenges since the turn of the millennium which left cotton being grown by small-scale farmers.

Poor prices and low support for crop cultivation resulted in the plunging of production, coupled with limited modernization and poor management of the crop. As a result, there were multiple closures and downsizing of factories along the cotton value chain as most companies were unable to remain competitive.

During the current marketing season, Cottco has taken delivery of nearly 70 000 tonnes of cotton, translating to a 48 percent growth from 46,748 tonnes recorded in the same period last year.

According to Cottco, a total of US$15, 9 million has been paid to farmers with 32 percent expected to be cleared next month.

“Farmer morale improved following the 2021/2022 buying season where they were paid 75 percent in United States Dollars and interest to grow the crop was rekindled resulting in 360,224 farmers being registered as compared to 294,202 growers in the previous season.”

Ms Mupanduki indicated that ginning had begun at all ginneries.

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