Cotton selling season set for next month, outstanding farmers’ payments to be cleared by May 31

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By Alois Vinga

THE Cotton selling season is set to commence in June in a development which will see the crop’s farmers pocketing more foreign currency.

The Cabinet revealed the latest details this week, effectively prompting the crop’s farmers to engage in final preparations.

“Cabinet advises that the 2024 cotton marketing season will be from 1 to 30 June 2024. Farmers will receive 75% of their payments in US$ and 25% in ZiG. All outstanding payments by the Cotton Company of Zimbabwe amounting to US$2,65 million and 2,8 million in ZiG will be cleared by 31 May 2024.

“The grade-based pricing system will be announced once ongoing consultations are concluded,” said the Cabinet this week.

Generally, the crop’s output is expected to be lower than yesteryear’s owing to the devastating effects of the El Nino phenomenon whose impact has been felt across the Agricultural sector.

Over the years, government funding of the crop through the Free Presidential Cotton Input scheme has significantly increased from US$26 million in the 2015/16 season to US$86 million in the 2021/22 season.

Early this year Cottco embarked on an extensive drive to encourage farmers to plant and increase their hectarage in a blitz dubbed ‘donje mumunda’.

The drive was targeting areas that still have a planting window such as Muzarabani, Mushumbi, Machaya, Rushinga, and Hoya in the Zambezi Valley, then in the Lowveld Chiredzi, Checheche Ngundu as well as Zhomba, Chireya in Gokwe and Uzumba in Mashonaland East.

The agricultural extension officers were deployed to the targeted areas to ensure farmers were adequately supported with all the necessary resources during the crop establishment stage.