The cotton buying season opens on June 1 with farmers expecting a minimum price of at least 63 cents per kg, an official said today, as the Agricultural Marketing Authority (AMA) distanced itself from potential pricing wars that have become the norm in previous seasons.
Production challenges related to pricing, side marketing and late provision of inputs have over the years seen output of the ‘white gold’ slumping from a peak of 353 000 tonners in the 2000/01 season to around 102 000 tonnes in the 2014/15 season.
Experts estimated around 70 000 tonnes for this season even as government provided free inputs to farmers in its bid to revive the sector.
AMA, the government arm tasked with regulating the agriculture sector, said today it had approved the setting up of 106 cotton buying points (CBP) across the country, up from 98 last year.
“AMA would like to advise the public that it does not set the producer price of seed cotton as seed cotton is not a controlled crop,” government agency said.
“The price is negotiated between farmers and buyers/ginners and farmers must be paid according to grade or quality of their seed cotton.”
AMA said only “registered buyers” would be allowed to buy the crop from farmers “from areas which they supported growers with inputs.”
Midlands province, at 37, has the highest number of buying points, followed by Mashonaland Central with 23. Mashonaland West has 21, Masvingo 15, Manicaland nine while Matabeleland North has one buying point.
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