Commercial Farmers' Union of Zimbabwe

Commercial Farmers' Union of Zimbabwe

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Govt plans to re-establish CMB

Govt plans to re-establish CMB


Government is considering re-establishing the Cotton Marketing Board to bring sanity to the cotton industry

Government is working on re-establishing the Cotton Marketing Board (CMB) as it seeks to bring about order in the production and marketing of the crop in the country, a Cabinet minister said yesterday.Cotton is one of the top export crops in Zimbabwe after tobacco.

The former CMB, now Cottco, a Zimbabwe Stock Exchange-listed company was privatised in 1994 and listed three years later.
Agriculture, Mechanisation and Irrigation Development Minister Dr Joseph Made said the board would help restore order in the sector.

“From a Government point of view, we are going to re-establish the Cotton Marketing Board. We cannot allow what is happening in the cotton sector. It is a very vital sector. Sixty percent of our rural population is directly involved in cotton production,” he said.

The cotton sector is currently mired in confusion as the Government is yet to announce a buying price for the crop, commonly referred to as the white gold, this season.

At the same time, the Competition and Tariff Commission has ordered that farmers, previously represented by unions, must negotiate the prices on their own.

As a result farmers have delayed harvesting their crop with some threatening to abandon it in the fields.

Dr Made appealed to farmers to harvest their crop to maintain its quality while the Government restored order in the sector.

“If left in the fields it deteriorates. There is also the danger of veld fires,” he said.

Agriculture Marketing Authority general manager Mr Rockie Mutenha said the move to allow farmers to individually negotiate with contractors was for their benefit.


“In the past, ginners used to group up and negotiate one price and yet the farmers cost of production was different. We are giving an opportunity to the farmer to negotiate a price that he wants for his product in relation to the input he got from the contractor,” he said.

Dr Made said cotton production this season was anticipated to be better than past seasons, with production assessments currently underway.

Meanwhile, Dr Made said the Grain Marketing Board would also be competing with private players in buying maize from farmers.

Since the beginning of harvesting last month, the GMB has taken delivery of 5 400 metric tonnes of maize up from 1 600 metric tonnes during the same period last year.

“In the coming two-three weeks, there will be more deliveries to the GMB as the maize will have reached the required moisture content,” Made said, adding indications were that maize production will also be better this season as a result of good rains the country received.

He said the GMB was no longer the buyer of last resort.

“The GMB is a buyer and is currently buying. We are not controlling the grain,” he said. “Farmers are delivering to the GMB. We are not saying other buyers must not buy, that is why we announce the floor price.”

The Government has set a floor price of $390 per tonne this season but private buyers are arguing it is too high and instead want to offer $310 per tonne. The GMB is mandated to store 500 000 metric tonnes of maize as strategic reserve.

Dr Made said the GMBs infrastructure to store grain was not in a “sorrowful state” but in need of rehabilitation.

The GMB has capacity to store 750 000 metric tonnes in its 12 silos across the country and also has storage sheds with a capacity of 175 000 metric tonnes as well as temporary structures to handle up to 3,9 million metric tonnes during dry periods. — New Ziana.


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