By JULIUS PHIRI –
COTTON farmers in Eastern Province have withheld their produce because of the poor price being offered by the ginners.
Cotton Association of Zambia (CAZ) board member, Michael Banda said that there was nothing wrong with farmers not selling their cotton if they were not happy with the buying price.
Mr Banda who is former CAZ vice-chairperson said that it was important for farmers to study the market, especially if there are signs that the prices could be reviewed upwards.
He said that the buying price offered by cotton buying companies reflect a true picture of what was currently prevailing on the international market.
He explained that cotton prices on the international market have gone down.
Mr Banda, however, said that cotton companies should not have the same buying price because each company has its own expenditure.
Cotton farmers have complained that the K2.40 being offered for one kilogramme of cotton was lower than the price for last marketing season.
On cotton farmers who have contracts with more than two ginning companies in the current 2014/15 marketing season, Zambia Cotton Ginners Association (ZCGA) and Cotton Board of Zambia (CBZ) said that trend should come to an end.
ZCGA executive secretary Bourne Chooka said in the 2015/16 season, the two would ensure that the reports on double contracted farmers come out much earlier than the marketing season.
He said cotton farmers that would be seen to be double contracted will be identified and penalised.
CBZ Board Secretary Dafulin Kaonga said the board would bring sanity to the cotton sector at crop marketing and enforce sanctity of contracts to protect the huge investments in the sector by the ginning companies.
He urged farmers to desist from getting input loans from more than one ginner.