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Zimbabwe to revive cotton dominance

Over the years Zimbabwe’s production of cotton has fallen.At one time cotton farming was a major foreign currency earner. A large number of farmers have since abandoned the crop, which was at one point ranked Zimbabwe’s top agricultural export, and they opting for more viable ones such as tobacco and soya beans.

There are challenges related to production, pricing, marketing and late provision of inputs. Price wars have become the norm.

About 106 cotton buying points will be set up across the country, up from 98 last year. Free inputs are being provided to farmers in a bid to revive the sector.

Farmers are in favor of buyers visiting each farmer and buying the cotton right from the farmer’s doorstep. Farmers are expecting a price of 63 cents per kg to remain in business.

The price is negotiated between farmers and buyers, and farmers will be paid according to the grade or quality of their seed cotton. Only registered buyers would be allowed to buy the crop from farmers from areas which they supported growers with inputs.

The cotton firm, Cottco, once a major player in the sector, is aiming to revive production.

The country’s cotton buying season opens on June 1.