By admin       2018-09-20

AFTER making a huge come back, the curtain comes down on the 2018 cotton marketing season with production hitting 130 000 tonnes, the highest output in nearly five years. This year’s output — achieved on the back of Government support through the Presidential Inputs Scheme — is 76 percent higher than last year’s national output. For the Cotton Marketing Company of Zimbabwe, which runs the government input programme, intake volumes grew 140 percent from 54 000 tonnes it bought last season. Most private companies – ditched by farmers over exploitative contract schemes – did not participate last season arguing it would not make economic sense to run a viable scheme parallel to the government’s free inputs support programme. “We have few deliveries trickling in the Lowveld but we should be done end of this week,” Pious Manamike, managing director of Cottco told The Herald Business yesterday. According to the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe cotton exports are projected to increase by up to 240 percent this year, on the back of growth in raw cotton production. At least $85 million is expected this year from ginned cotton — also known as lint — from $25 million earned last year, Dr John Mangudya, central bank governor said recently. Cotton, once one of the country’s largest foreign currency earners had lost glitter as farmers shunned the crop due to lack of funding and poor prices offered by producers. Meanwhile, the Tobacco Industry and Marketing Board yesterday invited bids from companies to supply inputs under the $85,3 million facility for lending to small-scale farmers, as it seeks to boost output of the country’s biggest single foreign currency earner. The new fund, set up by the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe and other banks, comes at a time when tobacco deliveries hit a record 249 million kilogrammes this year, the highest in nearly two decades. The RBZ is offering the facility to TIMB through Agribank to finance procurement of inputs and working capital to increase production. Of the facility about $66,2 million will go towards procurement of inputs for production covering about 51 000 hectares. The inputs worth $15,3 million to cover 11 000 ha have already been purchased and distribution was underway. In a statement yesterday, the TIMB invited bids from companies to supply fertilisers, chemicals, packaging materials, coal for curing tobacco and provision for storage facilities.

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