Cot­ton farm­ers poised for growth

Daily Nation Newspaper - - HOME NEWS -

By BUSI­NESS REPOTER THE Cot­ton As­so­ci­a­tion of Zam­bia has in­creased the mem­ber­ship from 32,000 farm­ers in 2016 to 45,000 last year due to in­creased in­ter­ac­tion with the farm­ers, as­so­ci­a­tion na­tional co­or­di­na­tor Josphen Nkole has an­nounced.

Mr Nkole ex­plained that the as­so­ci­a­tion had en­gaged a net­work of ex­ten­sion of­fi­cers who were train­ing farm­ers of how to grow cot­ton in all the dis­trict around the coun­try.

This is meant to in­crease cot­ton pro­duc­tion and main­tain good agro­nomic prac­tices.

Speak­ing in an in­ter­view with the Daily Na­tion, Mr Nkole said the for­ma­tion of co­op­er­a­tives had also helped cot­ton farm­ers.

“We use pri­vate sec­tor sys­tem of ex­ten­sion ser­vices, where farm­ers meet once a week with the ex­ten­sion work­ers and they form groups rang­ing from 7 to 15 and form co­op­er­a­tives. With this sys­tem, we have man­aged to in­crease the num­ber of farm­ers from the dis­tricts,” he said.

He said the cot­ton as­so­ci­a­tion was work­ing to­wards in­creas­ing value ad­di­tion in the cot­ton value chain.

“We have gone up the cot­ton value chain and our farm­ers are able to spin and weave the cot­ton from which they are mak­ing fab­rics. There is a lot of value ad­di­tion among our farm­ers who we have pro­vided with ma­chin­ery not just to sell the cot­ton raw but value added,” he said.

Mr Nkole said there was need for govern­ment to in­ter­ven­tion in the cot­ton sec­tor and help re­vive the tex­tile in­dus­try.

He ap­pealed to the govern­ment to ad­dress the pric­ing chal­lenges the sec­tor was fac­ing.

Mr Nkole stated that although his mem­bers were get­ting good prices, some farm­ers were com­plain­ing of low prices be­ing of­fered by other gin­ner­ies.

“The govern­ment needs to in­ter­vene in the cot­ton in­dus­try and work to­wards fos­ter­ing a level play­ing field in the sec­tor and this can only be done if the govern­ment takes up a lead­ing role in the pric­ing.

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