29 January 2013

Zimbabwe: Gokwe Farmers Abandon Cotton

MANY farmers in Gokwe have abandoned the crop for maize arguing that it is no longer commercially viable to produce the "white gold" given the low prices ginners are offering every year. The farmers also argued that the ginners were working in cartels and setting price ceilings meant to leave farmers poorer yet the ideal situation would be for ginners to contract farmers for a season or two and then let them do their own thing.

A farmer in Nemangwe, Mr Kempton Zhou, told The Herald last week that he had switched to maize after years of fighting price wars with ginners that had in most cases ended with property attachments after some farmers would have side marketed contracted crops.

Chief Nemangwe said the situation in the cotton industry was worrisome as farmers were perennially toiling to enrich ginners yet the whole idea of contract farming was to give the farmer the capacity to start his own operations after being propped in the first outing.

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