Government has called on cotton buyers to give full support to farmers throughout the farming season and condemned side marketing of the crop.Mujuru
Since the beginning of the cotton marketing season in April, farmers have been complaining about the pricing regime for the crop.
It has also emerged that some buyers, who are not involved in funding the production of the crop, are offering better prices compared to those who provide inputs thereby promoting side-marketing of cotton.
Cotton Company of Zimbabwe Regional Manager for Mashonaland West Province, Mr Tagarirofa Mashavira confirmed that though his company supports farmers with inputs, it is prejudiced during the selling season as some farmers opt to sell to other buyers, breaching their contractual obligations in the process.
â€œWe have a major challenge here in which there are some unscrupulous buyers who do not support framers but come and offer better prices and the framers then opt for them, it is very risky,â€ he said.
Responding to these grievances at a field day held at Matsikiti homestead in Chegutu East Constituency, Vice President Joice Mujuru said cotton merchants should offer fair prices whilst farmers should also respect their contractual obligations.
â€œMy message is to the two parties, the framers and the buyers need to be honest and work together, buyers should support fully our farmers not reap where they did not sow,â€ Cde Mujuru said.
Meanwhile, legislators from cotton growing areas have expressed concern at the unilateral price reduction of cotton lint in the past few days amid reports that ginners are paying as little as US40 cents per kilogramme.
â€œThe government should intervene and bring sanity in this sector because people will stop growing the crop,â€ said one ligislator.
In neighboring countries such as Zambia, a kilogramme of cotton is fetching US83 cents, while Malawian farmers are earning US80 cents, which shows that the minimum agreed price for the local crop pegged at US85 cents is in line with the regional benchmark.
Only Mozambican farmers are being paid US53 cents per kilogramme.