Cotton deliveries jump 40pc

14 Jan, 2022 - 00:01 0 Views
Cotton deliveries jump 40pc Mrs Jacqueline Dube

The Herald

Enacy Mapakame Business Reporter

The Cotton Company of Zimbabwe (Cottco Holdings Limited) says its 2021 total cotton intake increased by 40 percent on the prior year volume to 116 052 metric tonnes.

Zimbabwe’s biggest cotton dealer, owned by the Government, however, saw deliveries fall short of the 150 000 metric tonnes target for the year.

Volumes totalled 82,479 metric tonnes for the 2019/20 marketing season. Although agriculture is classified under essential services, the business was also affected by the Covid-19 pandemic.  In a trading update for the third quarter to December 31, 2021, which signifies the end of the buying season — acting company secretary Jacqueline Dube said the business experienced some disruptions due to an increase in Covid-19 cases at the end of the quarter.

However, the negative impact was reduced by remote working while farmer training programmes were done through smaller groups as an additional precautionary measure.

In addition, erratic power supplies had a knock effect on the business.

Mrs Dube said the company’s ginning schedule was delayed due to power challenges and 93 percent of the seed cotton intake had been ginned by the end of the quarter under review with production now set to end this month.

Despite the challenges, Cottco’s order book has remained strong.

“Zimbabwean hand-picked cotton is in high demand and the company’s order book exceeds production volumes,” she revealed.

But the late onset of the 2021/22 rainy season may affect the quality of the crop.

Already, this has resulted in sizable crops being established one to two months later than normal.

Said Mrs Dube: “Depending on the length of the season and available heat unit, this could affect the maturity and fibre length of the output.

Cottco’s ground staff are working with farmers to achieve the best possible results under the circumstances.

“The adoption of precision agriculture under the Cotton Pfumvudza/ Intwasa programme is also expected to improve the outlook.”

Meanwhile, Cottco says it is looking at unlocking a further $800 million to clear outstanding dues to farmers following the payment of an outstanding 2020 subsidy by the Government.

This comes as the company was able to pay farmers $3 billion from funding raised during the season. So far, the Government has already released $500 million out of the $2,53 billion total subsidy for the financial year 2021 as part of initiatives to support cotton farming and give farmers impetus to take on the crop in the next seasons going forward.

“The Treasury is expected to release the balance “shortly.”

“In order to ensure that cotton farming is viable, the Government generously committed an additional 22 cents per kg delivered by farmers as subsidy payment,” said Mrs Dube.

 

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