The government has been called upon to institute an urgent validation exercise to ascertain the cotton crop sponsored by private companies before the Agricultural Marketing Authority (AMA) starts issuing licences to buy the cotton.

The call was made by the Cotton Traders and Marketers Association amid reports that some private companies are eyeing to buy cotton sponsored by government.

The association says it has established that some private companies have inflated figures of the cotton hectarage they claim to have sponsored so that they can licence huge volumes of cotton produced under the Presidential Free Cotton Inputs.

The association’s secretary general Steward Mubonderi says government should move in quickly to institute a validation exercise to ascertain what the private companies sponsored so that AMA is not prejudiced to give licences to undeserving companies.

The association has expressed gratitude to government for supporting over 90 percent of cotton farmers with all the inputs, including chemicals, on time.

The assessment by the cotton association comes on backdrop of a declaration by government that all the cotton produced under Presidential Free Inputs is state commodity and any private companies found dabbling in side marketing will face the full wrath of the law.