HARARE, June 24 (The Source) – Zimbabwe has pegged the price of cotton at 45 cents for the 2016/7 season and plans to plant 400,000 hectares of cotton in the coming season, Agriculture Minister Joseph Made has said.
The price of cotton has previously sparked outrage after merchants offered to pay 30 cents per kilogramme, but Made told reporters in Harare on Thursday that the new price would also be supplemented by a yet to be determined bonus.
“The price at which government will be purchasing, even though it hasn’t been finalized, will be no less than 0,45 cents per kilogramme, plus the bonus that will be paid as and when the cotton would be sold in terms of cotton lint, stock feeds, cotton cake,” said Made.
“Our target is to reach 400,000 hectares to be planted in the coming season,” he added, saying there were plans that all cotton grown under government support would be marketed through the Cotton Company of Zimbabwe.
“The Cotton Company of Zimbabwe will be buying all the cotton that was supported by government across the country. The cotton crop will be looked at with the same importance as the tobacco crop,” he added.
Other farmers had recently restricted themselves to planting food crops instead of cotton, which is labour intensive.
Cotton production declined by 34 percent from 136,000 tonnes in the 2013/14 season to 90,000 tonnes in the 2014/15 season due to drought.
This was the second lowest crop after 60,000 tonnes harvested in the 1991/92 season, also due to a severe drought.
The area planted with cotton seed in the 2014/15 was estimated at 190,000 hectares, a 24 percent decrease from the 250,000 hectares planted in the 2013/14 season.