Cottco clears 86% of debt to farmers, engages financial institutions over 2024 cotton season

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By Staff Reporter

The Cotton Company of Zimbabwe (Cottco) is pushing forward with the 2024 cotton season, reporting good progress on both planting and farmer payments.

In its latest update, Cottco said it has paid 83% of its debt to cotton farmers.

The initial debt was US$23.6 million and the textile company said it has paid US$ 19.6 million to cotton farmers.

In terms of the ZWL payment component, Cottco said the farmers will be paid at the prevailing bank rate.

The current ZWL debt to farmers stands at $21.7 billion after the company paid ZWL $7.1 billion recently.

In terms of planting preparations and input distribution, Cottco said: “112,350 hectares have been established to date. 3,389 metric tonnes out of 4,537 of planting seed has been disbursed.”

16,411 metric tonnes out of 21,301 of compound L has been disbursed while chemical movement is underway in most areas.

According to reports, Cottco is currently on a crusade to engage financial institutions to raise funds towards settling cotton farmers’ outstanding payments from the 2023 season, as well as building funds for the upcoming 2024 marketing season.

In a recent X post, the company said it is continuing with its strategy to work with its financiers who are a key component in the rural transformation trajectory.

“Fruitful deliberations were held with CBZ, FBC, CABS and Ecobank on funding in preparation for the 2024 season intake,” read the post.

Speaking in an interview with local media, Cottco acting chief executive Munyaradzi Chikasha said: “Indeed, as Cottco we are strengthening our collaborations with various local financial institutions as we continue to source funds to pay the outstanding US$4 million balance that we owe farmers from the previous season. We have paid US$19, 6 million to date and we are hoping to pay the outstanding balance by the end of March 2024.”