COTTON sale volumes have reached 28 000 tonnes, about one third of what farmers delivered over the same period last year, the Agriculture and Marketing Authority said. At the same time last year, cotton sale volumes totalled 98,1 tonnes. There are no substantial volumes expected to be delivered as the marketing season draws to an end.Cottco, the country’s largest cotton company bought about 10,6 tonnes at an average price of 35c per kg. Other merchants bought the crop at an average price of 36c per kg.
This year’s production will be the lowest since 1992 when output declined to a record 52 000 tonnes since independence. Government has since scaled up input support for the cotton farmers, with 400 000 households expected to receive free inputs covering a hectare.
This is double last year’s package and could translate to a yield of more 200 000 tonnes.
Last year, farmers received free inputs worth $25 million and the expected potential harvest was 130 000 tonnes. Production was, however, affected by poor rains and late distribution of the inputs.
While providing free inputs was critical, analysts say it is important for the Government to come up with a price mechanism that incorporate a pre-planting price and forward sales to motivate farmers.