Cotton farmers poised for growth
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.