COTTCO Faces Outstanding Payments to Cotton Farmers

by Oluwatosin Alabi

The Cotton Company of Zimbabwe (COTTCO) has revealed that it still owes farmers approximately 30 percent of the payments for cotton deliveries made during the previous season. COTTCO CEO Priscilla Mutembwa announced this issue while speaking to journalists, indicating that efforts are underway to clear these outstanding payments before the start of the 2022/23 summer cropping season.

“We are trying to improve the production as well as how we can be more prepared to be able to work better with the farmers in terms of input distribution and farmer payments,” Mutembwa stated.

As of now, COTTCO has disbursed $16.7 million to farmers out of the total owed amount of $23 million. Mutembwa also emphasized that the company is actively working to settle arrears owed to its workers.

COTTCO has not yet initiated the distribution of free Pfumvudza/Intwasa cotton inputs to farmers across the country. Mutembwa explained, “We have not started the distribution of free inputs, but we have prepared as much as we can; we normally distribute after the end of October, we are also waiting for some of the inputs to arrive, so we are not too late. We are currently working on making sure that we are prepared.”

However, some cotton farmers in areas such as Muzarabani and Gokwe have abandoned cotton cultivation due to low prices and delayed payment for their deliveries by COTTCO.

This situation highlights the challenges faced by both cotton farmers and the cotton industry in Zimbabwe, as timely payments are crucial to incentivize farmers to continue growing cotton.

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