By JAMES KUNDA –
THE Zambia National Farmers Union (ZNFU) has bemoaned the low cotton price being offered by ginners this marketing season, compared to last year.
ZNFU president Jervis Zimba said cotton prices over the last season were at K3.70 per kilogramme (kg) but this season, ginners were offering ‘very poor prices’, at K3 per kg, with only one cotton association offering K4 per kg.
“It is sad that the cotton industry has continued to underperform over the years due to extremely poor prices. Ginners have continued to ride on the farmers’ sweat by swindling them out of their produce through the offer of non-cost reflective prices, which will inject more poverty in the farmers,” Mr Zimba said.
He alleged that the union was cognisant of a major company sabotaging the cotton farmers’ drive to recovery by spearheading the price of K3 per kg inspite of favourable offers for lint, seed cotton and fuzzy cotton on the international market.
Mr Zimba said the cotton futures’ market was bright, hence the need for buyers to offer good prices as opposed to taking advantage of farmers.
“Cotton production is labour intensive and hard to grow, these are matters that should be taken into consideration when arriving at price offers. We know these companies and we are ready to expose them if they continue to ignore the farmers’ plight,” he said.
Mr Zimba called for a meeting between the cotton board, ginners and the ZNFU to resolve the issue.
He urged cotton farmers not to sell their crop until new price offers were announced to create a win-win situation among all players in the industry.
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