Zimbabwe: Cotton Output Surpasses Target

Victoria Falls — Zimbabwe's cotton output has surpassed initial targets notwithstanding an impasse in prices, a senior official from the ministry of Agriculture, Mechanisation and Irrigation Development said last week.

"As of last week, cotton output stood at 316 000 tonnes, surpassing targets despite the prices impasse," Ngoni Masoka, the ministry's permanent secretary told delegates attending a high-level conference in the resort town.

In the 2012 national budget, cotton output was projected to reach 286 000 tonnes.

Early this year, cotton farmers were holding onto their crop protesting against the poor prices that were being offered.

Merchants were offering a price of US$0,30 per kg, which farmers dismissed as too little considering the cost involved in growing the crop.

Government later intervened and set the minimum price at US$0,77 per kg.

Masoka said government was pushing for the establishment of a fund which seeks to assist farmers access affordable capital.

He also said the policy would also compel banks to set up a threshold for on lending to a sector once regarded as the mainstay of the economy.

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