Trouble is brewing in the cotton industry as the Cotton Producers and Marketers Association of Zimbabwe has urged its members to hold on to their produce as a form of protest against merchants who are being accused of short changing farmers by buying the commodity at prices below the agreed prices.The call by the Cotton Producers and Marketers Association of Zimbabwe follows widespread reports of merchants and ginners who are taking advantage of the farmers by buying the commodity at a price ranging from 40 to 60 cents per kilogramme against the agreed producer prices of US$1.05 per kilogramme for grade A cotton and 96 cents per kilogramme for the grade B crop.
Cotton Producers and Marketers Association of Zimbabwe Chairman, Mr. Clemence Gondo expressed concern at the development and appealed to members of the association to withhold their produce pending the outcome of the on-going meeting between the association and the merchants.
â€œWe are very disturbed by the development. As a representative association we are there to protect out members from any form of abuse, hence our appeal to all cotton farmers to hold on to their commodity till the merchants revert to the gazette prices,â€ said Mr. Gondo.
Merchants and ginners have been citing the fall in the price of cotton on the international market as justification for the sudden fall in prices of the commodity locally.
However, Mr. Gondo dismissed the argument as unconvincing as local prices were still low compared to the international market rates even before the fall of prices on the global market.
According to the Cotton A index international market, prices for the commodity which once traded around 200 cents per kilogramme early this year have of late been falling hovering around 160 to 180 cents per kilogramme.