In­dus­try suf­fers as cot­ton out­put drops

Chronicle (Zimbabwe) - - Business - Love­more Zi­gara

THE cot­ton to cloth­ing value chain has been dis­torted ow­ing to low out­put of the crop in the 2015/16 farm­ing sea­son.

Oil ex­pressers, tex­tile and footwear man­u­fac­tur­ing firms have been af­fected by the poor har­vest.

Less than 30 000 tonnes of cot­ton were re­alised this sea­son, ac­cord­ing to Govern­ment sta­tis­tics, the low­est har­vest in the coun­try after 43 643 hectares were put un­der cot­ton last sum­mer crop­ping sea­son com­pared to 74 446 hectares planted.

Zim­babwe Spin­ners and Weavers is one of the af­fected com­pa­nies, which man­u­fac­ture cot­ton cloth among other prod­ucts.

While the com­pany’s group gen­eral man­ager Mr Ryan Nor­man had not re­sponded to ques­tions e-mailed to him, sources within the com­pany said ca­pac­ity util­i­sa­tion had dropped as a re­sult of low cot­ton out­put.

Bata man­ag­ing di­rec­tor Mr Eh­san Za­man warned that the gi­ant shoe man­u­fac­turer might be forced to re­duce pro­duc­tion due to the cut in sup­plies of tex­tiles, which the com­pany gets from Zim­babwe Spin­ners and Weavers.

“We are not get­ting reg­u­lar sup­plies of tex­tile, which is one of the ba­sic raw materials we need for our can­vass pro­duc­tion. We are not get­ting reg­u­lar sup­plies from our sup­plier lo­cally, which means if we do not have enough it will af­fect pro­duc­tion as well so the op­tion will be to im­port. As you know tex­tiles are some of the items that have been re­stricted from im­por­ta­tion and we are try­ing to talk to the Min­istry of In­dus­try and Com­merce so that we can be al­lowed to im­port,” said Mr Za­man.

He said the com­pany needs 5 000 me­tres of fab­ric weekly, which he said Zim­babwe Spin­ners and Weavers is fail­ing to meet.

Oil ex­pressers have also borne the brunt of low cot­ton pro­duc­tion, which they say has contributed to an acute short­age of cot­ton seed.

United Re­finer­ies chief ex­ec­u­tive of­fi­cer Mr Bu­sisa Moyo said the com­pany has re­sorted to com­ing up with soya beans out­grower schemes as an al­ter­na­tive to cot­ton seed.

“Cot­ton pro­duc­tion has been on the down­ward spi­ral over the past years after the Chi­nese dis­torted the value chain there and this has af­fected the sup­ply of cot­ton seed. For us to keep go­ing we have launched soya beans out­grower schemes so that we can meet our com­pany’s needs,” said Mr Moyo who also dou­bles up at the Con­fed­er­a­tion of Zim­babwe In­dus­tries (CZI) pres­i­dent.

CZI has iden­ti­fied the cot­ton – cloth­ing value chain as one of the 18 key value chains to spur in­dus­tri­al­i­sa­tion.

As part of ef­forts to up pro­duc­tion of the cot­ton sec­tor the Govern­ment through the Min­istry of Agri­cul­ture, Mech­a­ni­sa­tion and Ir­ri­ga­tion Devel­op­ment has started giv­ing rel­e­vant in­puts in­clud­ing seed to farm­ers.

Also, the Govern­ment re­cently an­nounced that the cot­ton pro­ducer price would be $0.55 per kg.

The Cot­ton Pro­duc­ers As­so­ci­a­tion (CPA) said a favourable price would en­tice farm­ers to com­mit to go­ing back to grow­ing the white gold.

CPA vice chair­man Mr Mor­ris Mukwe said $0,55 per kg would be an ideal price.

“We ap­pre­ci­ate the ef­forts be­ing un­der­taken by the Govern­ment to pro­mote the grow­ing of cot­ton through avail­ing in­puts. How­ever, there is a dan­ger that some farm­ers like last sea­son will re­ceive the in­puts for spec­u­la­tive pur­poses es­pe­cially if the pric­ing of the crop is not ad­dressed,” Mr Mukwe said.

“For farm­ers the vi­able price will be at least $0, 55 per kg. We also want to urge cot­ton com­pa­nies to in­tro­duce the auc­tion sys­tem be­cause at the mo­ment the cot­ton com­pa­nies are op­er­at­ing a car­tel where they buy the com­mod­ity us­ing a price they have agreed amongst them­selves in de­fi­ance to a rul­ing by the Com­pe­ti­tions and Tar­iffs Com­mis­sion,” he added.

Mr Mukwe said if the Govern­ment is to in­stil con­fi­dence in the sec­tor it should com­pel Cottco, which paid $0,35 per kg for de­liv­er­ies to com­mit to pay the $0,10 ad­just­ment, which it said it would pay this month.

“Fail­ure to pay the ad­just­ments would erode the trust the re­main­ing cot­ton farm­ers has on Cottco, which is the only com­pany that has been pay­ing farm­ers bet­ter,” said Mr Mukwe.

At peak pro­duc­tion the coun­try used to grow 435 000 tonnes of the white gold. — @lavuzi­gara1

Mr Bu­sisa Moyo

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