COTTCO takeover bid to be finalised by March

By Tapiwa Machemedze

Government’s bid to increase its stake in the Cotton Company of Zimbabwe- COTTCO to 51 percent is expected to be complete by March as part of efforts to enhance production of the white gold.

The move comes at a time when cotton farmers including those in Mount Darwin West have bemoaned late payments with some yet to receive their dues from last year’s deliveries.

“Last year but one we got groceries, but not of all us wanted them and now we didn’t get paid for the past season’s deliveries which makes it difficult for us as farmers who survive from this enterprise,” a cotton farmer said.

Another noted: “Cotton used to be farmed in this area, even I learnt to farm through cotton but now there are only a few farmers.”

The Minister of Lands, Agriculture, Water, Fisheries and Rural Development, Dr Anxious Masuka, who toured several farms to assess production of all crops in Mount Darwin and Bindura this Tuesday, said government is addressing the plight of the farmers.

“We gave them (COTTCO) by March to expect government to raise its stake in COTTCO; that’s why we are now giving Pfumvudza inputs. The challenge that was preventing us from freely funding COTTCO is that it’s a private company so there are rules that govern use of public finances,” he said.

Government availed ZWL$2.5 billion for the industry to offset farmers’ outstanding balances from 2020, with ZWL$1.5 billion now remaining.

Meanwhile, government is expected to take delivery of 1 700 tones of sunflower imported from South Africa to boost cooking oil production.

Added Minister Masuka: “Harare, Mash West and Mash Central didn’t get enough rains. Now we must not focus on planting maize. We encourage farmers to plant, sorghum, and pearl millet sunflowers right now. If you really must plant maize do short season varieties.  We are buying sunflower seed from South Africa. It’s expected to arrive tomorrow. The price of sunflower per tonne is the highest among all crops right now.”

The pre-planting producer price for sunflower is pegged at ZWL$150 thousand per tonne, closely followed by soya beans whose price stands at ZWL$125 thousand per tonne in tandem with high global edible oil prices.

Sunflower seed being imported will translate to production of about 200 000 hectares of the oil seed, ramping up production from 14 000 tonnes in the 2020/21 farming season.

The post COTTCO takeover bid to be finalised by March appeared first on ZBC NEWS.

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