HARARE, (The Southern African Times) – Cotton deliveries in Zimbabwe jumped to 116,052 tonnes in 2021, up from 82,479 tonnes in 2020 following subsidies and increased government support to farmers, an official from the country’s largest cotton company said Thursday.
To ensure cotton farming remains viable, the Zimbabwean government last year committed to pay an additional 22 Zimbabwe dollars (20 U.S. cents) per kg delivered by farmers as subsidy payment, said Jacqueline Dube, Cotton Company of Zimbabwe (Cottco) acting company secretary.
She said in a trading update for the third quarter ending December 2021 that outstanding payments to farmers would be cleared shortly.
“The 3rd quarter typically signifies the end of Cottco’s buying season and the final intake stood at 116,052 MT (metric tonnes) compared to 82,479 MT in 2020,” Dube said.
She said Cottco’s ginning schedule was delayed by power challenges, with 93 percent of the seed cotton intake having been ginned by Dec. 31, 2021.
“Zimbabwean hand-picked cotton is in high demand and the company’s order book exceeds production volumes,” she said.
For the 2021/22 farming season, Dube said the late onset of rains had resulted in planting delays, with a sizeable crop being established 1-2 months later than normal.
“Depending on the length of the season and available heat units this could affect the maturity and fiber length of the output. Cottco’s ground staff is working with farmers to achieve the best possible results under the circumstances,” she said.
International lint prices surged to a 10-year high in 2021, peaking at 119.2 U.S. cents per ounce in November, compared to average prices of 56 U.S. cents that prevailed in 2020.
Cotton is one of Zimbabwe’s major cash crops and contributes significantly to economic growth and improved livelihoods among growers.