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The Cotton Ginners Association of Zimbabwe has been ordered to stop setting prices for contracted farmers to enable them to determine their own prices.

The Competition and Tariff Commission said it resolved that ginners should individually negotiate with their contracted farmers on a seasonal pool price for seed cotton at the beginning of the cotton marketing season.

“Members of the Cotton Ginners Association of Zimbabwe [must] forthwith cease and desist from engaging in the restrictive practice of setting uniform prices for seed cotton bought from farmers and that the members individually negotiate such prices with their contracted farmers,” the commission ruled last week.

“That ginners adjust the price of seed cotton after selling lint and the by-product of cotton seed at the end of the cotton marketing season.”

The Agricultural Marketing Authority (AMA) said cotton farmers and ginners faced serious pricing issues that discouraged them from continuing to produce the crop.

The cotton sector is facing challenges ranging from poor quality plant yield as well as the low prices that are obtained for the crop.

The plant yields in Zimbabwe are at 17 000 plants per hectare, compared to very high yields of 45 000 to 50 000 plants per hectare in other countries. Last year the price of the crop was around $0,63 per kilogramme.

The output for 2013 and 2014 was stagnant at 143 000 metric tonnes.

Source : Zimbabwe Standard

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