HARARE, July 31– Cotton sales have so far raked in At least 40 million US dollars since Zimbabwe’s current marketing season for the crop began in April this year, says an official Agriculture Marketing Authority chief executive officer Rockie Mutenha.

In 2013, total sales of cotton reached about 71.5 million USD, down from 129.5 million USD realized from the 2012 crop.

Mutenha said here Wednesday that prices this marketing season were ranging between 50 cents and 65 cents per kilogramme compared with an average price of 50 cents per kg in 2013 and 37 cents per kg in 2012.

The local producer price follows the dictates of the international lint price trends where a significant amount of the country’s crop is sold.

“As of 18th July, about 70,000 metric tons had been delivered compared with 105,000 tonnes at the same time last year,” he said. “Prices are ranging between 50 cents and 65 cents. This gives an average of 57 cents per kg, giving an estimated value of 40.25 million USD.

The Agriculture Extension Services had projected a crop size of about 117,000 tonnes in 2014 while the Cotton Ginners Association estimated a figure of 190,000 tonnes.

Cotton is being sold at 385 buying points across the country. At least 16 buyers are registered to sell the crop this season.

Strategies for the revival of the textile industry and value addition combined with financing from the banking sector are expected to boost local demand for cotton and hence its production.

Farmers have been abandoning cotton for other cash crops such as tobacco that have better marketing systems as well as attractive prices.

In Zimbabwe, cotton farming is a source of livelihood for more than 250,000 households and is largely undertaken in the drier parts of the country which include Gokwe, Midlands Province, Muzarabani Mashonaland Central Province, Chipinge, Manicaland Province and Chiredzi, Masvingo Province.