Zambia’s Cotton earning to rise to USD220million...
Zambia expects to harvest 120,000 tonnes of cotton worth USD220million this year. This was established by the Cotton Board of Zambia in a statement issued by its Executive Director Dafulin Kaonga....
Zambia expects to harvest 120,000 tonnes of cotton worth USD220million this year. This was established by the Cotton Board of Zambia in a statement issued by its Executive Director Dafulin Kaonga. The board expects Zambia to earn USD220million at current market prices of USD1.83 per kilo. Kaonga agreed with the Cotton Association of Zambia’s – CAZs contention that there is need for government to devise viable policies and ramp up investment in the sector. There is need for government to provide an atmosphere or enabling environment that will attract local and foreign investment in value addition opportunities such as textiles and cloth making. This would then further boost local employment creation and export of higher value added products.
Kaonga, said government should review the current Cotton Act of 2005 which the board is currently operating on to expand its mandate so that it can support the full value chain development. There is need to open up more textile industries, describing the current infrastructure in Zambia as being obsolete.
When pressed on what his board has been doing to develop local value chains, Kaonga stated that the boards mandate only go as far as a point were cotton is separated from the seed and lint and not reaching textile. “We are thinking that [ its time] to review the Act to expand what the board can do, our hands are tied and that is what is on the ground right now,” he said.
He indicated that some of the challenges the board is facing includes fluctuating pricing which is dependent on the international market system. The local commodity trading companies work backwards, making farmers bear the risk of international price and currency fluctuations. This is where there is a gap or a need to come up with price hedging mechanisms to introduce stability and predictability in cotton pricing.
The Cotton Board Executive Director also pointed out the low productivity by the farmers as the other big challenge. The board has been working with financiers to come on board and partner with the farmers with certain basic needs over and above mere financing so that productivity improves.
When asked how the board is funded, Kaonga advised that board operations are funded by levies to the cotton industry and grants from the government. He highlighted the issue of famers getting high interest and exploitative loans from different financiers has since been minimized.
“We have stabilised the sector and managed to bring confidence in people to invest in cotton. Today, investors can come and partner with locals as there is sanity in the sector,” this Kaonga said in response to a question as to how his board has tried to develop the cotton and textile industry in Zambia.
Kaonga said that the Cotton Board of Zambia was established under the Cotton Act No. 21 of 2005 of the Laws of Zambia, but only started operations in 2009. The act mandates the board to regulate the cotton industry in relation to the production and ginning of seed cotton; to regulate the production and marketing of cotton and to provide for matters connected with or incidental to the cotton sector.
Cotton in Zambia is grown mainly in the Luangwa Valley of Eastern and Lusaka Provinces, and the Gwembe Valley of Southern Province. The other regions of Zambia which now has 10 provinces are yet to be ruled out as potential areas for expanding .
Cotton (white Gold) ready for harvest