By Ndafadza Madanha
GOVERNMENT must consider adopting the pre purchasing model for cotton growers to avert the disorder that characterized the 2019-20 marketing season.
The cotton marketing season is expected to roar into life in the next two months .
Cotton farmers were left stranded last year as COTTOCO struggled to pay farmers upon delivery and were forced to accept alternative payments methods such as groceries.
Government currently owes cotton farmers in excess of ZWL1.5 billion.
However, the chaos that characterized last year’s cotton marketing system can be addressed if the Government adopts the pre-purchasing model.
Pre-purchasing model is a structure involving forward purchase of product expected from primary producers by licensed buyers, through advancing funds to government or its buying authorities ahead of delivery of product.
The money populates in an account against which an advance is availed to government firms with the sole purpose of paying for farmers producers. The licensed buyer benefits from a discounted price and assured supply.
According to Statutory Instrument 96 of 2021, all cotton will be delivered to the Cotton Company of Zimbabwe, Southern Cotton Company, Zimbabwe Cotton Company, Alliance Ginneries and ShawashAgric Private Limited.
Cotton is one of the country’s major foreign currency earners in the agriculture sector after tobacco and sugar.
Cotton is largely grown in the drier parts of the country as the crop is drought resistant. The crop is a source of livelihood for over 250 000 thousand household in the country and the number is set to increase as more companies are venturing in cotton contract farming as well as the inclusion of cotton under the Presidential Inputs Support Scheme.