GOVERNMENT has intervened in the cotton pricing dispute between farmers and merchants, with Cabinet on Tuesday tasking Minister of Agriculture, Mechanisation and Irrigation Development Dr Joseph Made to meet stakeholders to find an amicable solution within the coming week.
Government is also working on establishing a commodity exchange as a way to resolve pricing issues for agricultural produce as a long-term solution.
Deputy Prime Minister Arthur Mutambara said this in the House of Assembly on Wednesday during the question and answer session after Mutare South legislator Cde Fred Kanzama (Zanu-PF) asked what Government was doing to resolve the impasse.
"Yesterday (Tuesday) in Cabinet we had a discussion on the issue of pricing of cotton and also dealt with how we can address related matters in the cotton industry," he said.
"To our farmers involved in cotton, I can say it is work in progress and the Minister of Agriculture, Mechanisation and Irrigation Development is going to be meeting with the stakeholders in the cotton industry so that they address several issues."
DPM Mutambara said setting up a commodity exchange was high on their agenda.
"One of the issues we are trying to address is the issue of establishing a commodity exchange where maize, cotton, tobacco and all these agricultural commodities have a market driven platform where we enable our farmers to extract maximum value for their products," he said.
"So, we are working on a commodity exchange for agricultural products and also for mineral products.
"We are also saying that we have done a good job with tobacco.
"Those who are in tobacco are able to extract maximum value for their tobacco."
DPM Mutambara said it was important that the country moved to process cotton locally to enhance value of the commodities.
"I want to say that we are also concerned about agro-processing, moving up the value chain in terms of cotton so that we set up a cotton cluster, let us say in Kadoma, where we actually go into textiles and processing of cotton.
"We then have to build supporting industries and infrastructure for the cluster," he said.