Cotton Company of Zimbabwe
The Cotton Company of Zimbabwe is the largest cotton producing company in the country. It has an 80% market share. The company was privatized in 1994 and was in competition with Cargill at the time.
After 2000 other players came and in 2005 when the foreign currency challenges began Chinese companies also joined the cotton industry. At the peak of hyper inflation 2007/8 there were 28 cotton companies in Zimbabwe although they were fly by night companies.
The company has revived its relationship with farmers so that they start to grow cotton again. The response has been positive considering that the Presidential Input Scheme is now in place. The Presidential Input Scheme was first announce by Finance Minister Patrick Chinamasa during the 2015 National Budget with the aim to revive cotton production. The inputs package is a direct subsidy to the farmer administered by Cottco.
During the 2015/6 season 10 800 tonnes of cotton was delivered by farmers to Cottco, and for the 2016/7 season 54 000 tonnes was delivered by farmers. The jump represents a 400% growth in cotton production. National output for 2015/6 was 28 000tonnes and for the current season its 70 000tonnes and Cottco has the major market share in all these statistics. Currently there are about six cotton companies including the Cotton Company of Zimbabwe.
The company is buying the cotton at 47cents per kilogramme and there would be price adjustments of 10 cents for farmers who have graded their cotton. This year the company has encouraged farmers to grade their cotton.
The major challenges for cotton production last season were side marketing , low productivity per unit area, diversion of fertilizer to other crops and the heavy rains.
Going forward the company is targeting to contract 400 000 farmers countrywide including areas that had stopped cotton production namely Mat North and South. Plans are underway to start agronomic services and an area manager has been recruited already. The plan is that the company would have more seed cotton this year which means since 2015 when the Presidential input scheme was introduced cotton production has been on a growth trajectory.
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