Cottco Advances Towards 2024 Cotton Season, Clears Majority of Farmer Debt

Zimbabwe's Cottco Settles 86% of Outstanding Payments to Cotton Farmers

by Ikeoluwa Ogungbangbe
Cottco 2024 Cotton Season

The Cotton Company of Zimbabwe (Cottco) is making strides in its preparations for the 2024 cotton season, reporting considerable progress in planting and settling debts owed to cotton farmers. In its latest update, Cottco announced it has paid 83% of its debt, equating to US$19.6 million of the initial US$23.6 million owed.

Regarding the Zimbabwean dollar (ZWL) component of the payment, Cottco confirmed that farmers would receive compensation at the prevailing bank rate. The current ZWL debt to farmers stands at $21.7 billion, following a recent payment of ZWL $7.1 billion by the company.

In terms of planting and input distribution for the upcoming season, Cottco has made significant progress. “To date, 112,350 hectares have been established. We have also disbursed 3,389 metric tonnes out of 4,537 of planting seed,” the company reported. Additionally, 16,411 metric tonnes out of 21,301 of compound L fertilizer have been distributed, with the movement of chemicals underway in most areas.

Cottco is actively engaging with financial institutions to secure funds for settling the remaining payments from the 2023 season and for the 2024 marketing season. In a recent social media post, the company highlighted its ongoing strategy to collaborate with its financiers, who play a crucial role in the rural transformation trajectory. “We’ve had productive discussions with CBZ, FBC, CABS, and Ecobank on funding for the upcoming season,” the post detailed.

In an interview with local media, Cottco’s acting chief executive, Munyaradzi Chikasha, stated, “We are strengthening our ties with various local financial institutions to secure the funds needed to clear the outstanding US$4 million balance owed to farmers from the previous season. We aim to settle this balance by the end of March 2024.”

Cottco’s efforts to clear its debts and prepare for the new season are crucial for the sustainability of the cotton industry in Zimbabwe. The company’s ability to meet its financial obligations and provide necessary inputs for the upcoming season is vital for the livelihoods of thousands of cotton farmers across the country.

As Cottco continues to navigate these financial challenges, its actions are closely watched by stakeholders in the agriculture sector. The successful management of these issues will be key in ensuring a productive 2024 cotton season and maintaining the trust of farmers and financial partners alike.

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