Cottco unveils rebranding strategy, targets 1 500 kgs per hectare

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By Alois Vinga

THE Cotton Company of Zimbabwe (COTTCO) transformation exercise has seen the tabling of plans to achieve 1,500 kgs of cotton output per hectare, improvement of farmer payment modalities among a raft of new ways of doing business at the state enterprise.

The developments come against efforts by the parastatal’s board to rebrand following years of illicit management practices which triggered a collapse in stakeholder satisfaction.

Speaking at the official launch of the new transformation journey recently installed board chair and respected industrialist, Sifelani Jabangwe, said the newly crafted five-year strategy places the farmer at the heart of Cottco’s operations.

“This part of our transformation journey officially began in February 2022 when Cottco invited several consultants to make a presentation of how the organisation could effectively re-brand itself,” he said.

“We also carried out an extensive Brand Audit where the selected Brand Consultants travelled extensively to every cotton growing area in Zimbabwe to find out how farmers and the community truly felt about the brand Cottco.”

He said the new board has also realised that the journey needs more than just an external change in communication and appearance towards an inside-out aggressive approach to transformation of the organisation.

“The Transformation Journey has already begun. Most significant is the change in payment modalities to farmers in 2022 and the promptness of the farmer payments.

“As directed by the Government, farmers are now being paid 75% of their earnings in USD on the basis that the lint output is an export crop.

“The new payment modalities have been well received and it is envisaged that the number of farmers registering for the 2022/2023 cropping season will increase significantly.”

A total 326,660 farmers in 2021 received training in conservation agriculture concepts through the Cotton Pfumvudza/Intwasa Program as part of efforts to address the effects of climate change.

Following the training, 214,984 Pfumvudza/Intwasa plots were established.

In the same year 98,020 hectares of land were tilled for farmers at no additional cost, compared to 8,551 hectares in 2020.

Whilst limited quantities of hybrid seed were available for planting in 2021, the company tested a new variety of seed called Jaguar which has proven to be high-yielding and drought tolerant amid plans to continue to prioritise the area of improved farmer viability through improved yields.

“Assistance has been sought through the Presidential Inputs Scheme and the Company is also seeking funding to secure more quantities of hybrid seed for planting by farmers,” said Jabangwe.

“This will improve the farmers yields from an average of 350kg per hectare to an average of 1500kg per hectare and upward potential of up to 4000kg per hectare.”

Jabangwe added that the new board working closely with the management will commit to being a change agent towards the sustainable development goals of ending poverty, ending hunger, gender inequality, decent work and economic growth, sustainable cotton production and adaptation and mitigation to climate change as well as collaboration for growth.