Cottco accuses competitors of ignoring quality of crop


Roadwin Chirara

LEADING cotton producer, the Cotton Company of Zimbabwe Ltd (Cottco), has accused its competitors of paying little regards to the quality of their produce, a situation th

at provides a threat to the thriving industry.


According to company chairman Nicholas Nyandoro the new players have also neglected the well-being of their farmers.


“There was intense competition for the crop from a number of new players, who paid little regard to industry quality standards or to the long-term well-being of the seed cotton growers,” Nyandoro said.


He however said the effects of drought on cotton managed to record an increase, from the previous figure of 195 000 tonnes of cotton to end the season at 250 000 tonnes.


“The national crop which, for the second year running was affected by drought, rose to 250 000 tonnes from 195 000 tonnes in the previous year,” said Nyandoro.


He said the company had managed to record an increase in the cottonseed intake by farmers, a situation which proved beneficial to the company.


“Seed cotton intake increased from the 133 000 tonnes to 145 000 tonnes,” said Nyandoro.


He said the ability of the companies cottonseed division, Quton Seed to meet the demands of the farming sector.


“In spite of the drought in the last two consecutive years, Quton Seed Company managed to meet the country’s full planting seed requirements,” he said.


Nyandoro said government should implement a regulatory framework for the sector.


He said the company had made progress on the issue.


“I am pleased to advise members that there has been progress on this front and it is hoped that legislation will be in place soon,” Nyandoro said.


In spite of operating in an environment characterised by high levels of inflation, Nyandoro said the company’s performance had been more than satisfactory.


Cottco managed to record profit after tax of $103,8 billion, with the company’s investment in Seedco, contributing $7,5 billion to the companies profit.


Cotton is fast becoming the nation’s largest foreign currency earner, overtaking tobacco.


Analysts say the huge expense incurred in tobacco production as well as the uncertainty facing commercial farmers in the country has severely affected productivity.


Tobacco farmers, just like other agricultural practitioners, are finding it extremely difficult to secure funding for their crop.


While banks have the cash to loan to farmers they are unwilling to do so because of the likelihood of Section 8’s being served on their clients.


About 500 farmers have already left Zimbabwe for Zambia where they have been offered land and cash to operate.