HARARE, July 14 — The Zimbabwe Commercial Farmers Union has declared that the price at 60 US cents per kilogramme at which cotton is being sold is reasonable.

ZCFU President Wonder Chabikwa said Sunday the growers were happy with the price of 0.60 USD which some buyers were offering.

He said: “Marketing of cotton is going on. Prices are ranging from 0.50 to 0.60 USD per kg. We can say prices are reasonable at the moment. If all buyers could pay that much then farmers would say this season it is fair.”

The start of the cotton marketing season was delayed following disagreements between farmer unions and ginners over producer prices which ended in arbitration.

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

About 8.5 million kg of cotton have been sold since the marketing season began in June and the Agricultural Marketing Authority (AMA) is expecting that between 180,000 and 300,000 tonnes of cotton will be sold this season.

This year, many farmers did not grow cotton because if low prices that the commodity fetched last year.
Last year, a kilogram of cotton was sold at 0.30 USD per kg, down from 0.70 USD paid in 2012.

The government has forecast cotton output to grow from 140,000 tonnes in 2013, to 180,000 tonnes in 2014 on the back of anticipated increases in local demand.

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.

Land put under cotton declined from 450,000 hectares in the 2011/12 season to 241,849 hectares in the 2012/13 season because fewer farmers grew the crop because of low viable prices which merchants were offering the previous season.

Farmers had decided to leave growing cotton for other crops such as tobacco which have good marketing plans as well as attractive prices which enable them to go back to the field.