Binga Cotton Farmers Cry Foul

In an interview with Radio Voice of the People at Pashu Ward in Binga North, Silibaziso Mudenda, a cotton grower, described the selling price as unfair because it did not take into account labour costs and other expenses.

Mudenda said farmers expected a producer price of 65 cents or more per kilogramme if they were going to remain viable.

She said farmers dependent on the income to send their children to school.

“All the cash from cotton sales has gone to pay fees for my children, l am now supposed to start looking for money to buy cotton seeds and other cotton farming in-puts bud l had 10 hectares under cotton last season that were taken at a cheap price,” said Mudenda.

Cotton farmers countrywide have been holding onto this year’s crop demanding buyers to raise the price to anything between 49 and 80 cents per kilogram.

The Government of Zimbabwe is not the buyer of cotton and this has led to buyers taking advantage of the situation leaving cotton farmer without alternative buyers. Zimbabwe’s cotton lint is exported to various destinations around the world.

Cotton is Zimbabwe’s second largest foreign currency earner after tobacco. In 2011, cotton earned the country more than US$20 million in foreign currency.

An estimated 250 000 smallholder farmers produce 99 percent of Zimbabwe’s cotton crop mainly through contract farming schemes with cotton ginning companies.