cotton plant.jpgCotton merchants have been underpaying farmers in the past few days in a move which has been described as a U-turn from the agreed cotton price by all the stakeholders at the start of the season.

Ginners who were previously paying a flat rate of 85 cents for a kilogramme of cotton cut down their payments this week to 70 cents, attributing this to a price decline on the international cotton market.

Farmers are not happy with this development and are threatening to withhold their cotton.

Zimbabwe Farmers Union Executive Director, Mr. Paul Zakariya said the cut in prices reported by its members is a surprise as farmers actually expected a price rise instead.

“As a farmer organisation we are not supportive of the move and we would advice farmers to hold their crop until there is clarification.

We have even called for a meeting, but obviously the ginners are busy,” said Mr. Zakariya.

Cotton Marketing Technical Committee Chairman (CMTC), Mr. Berean Mukwende said he is not at liberty to comment on the issue while efforts to obtain a comment from the Agriculture Marketing Authority board were unsuccessful.

Information at hand however shows that the CMTC which brings together all the stakeholders in the cotton sector will meet on Monday as ginners are seeking approval to officialise the price reduction.

The Cotton A outlook index shows that cotton which was fetching US$2, 29 for half a kilogramme in March fell to US$1,63 as of 3 June.