Maputo — The oscillation of cotton prices on the world market, plus the impact of natural disasters, explains the reduction in Mozambican cotton production in the 2018-2019 agricultural year, according to Agriculture Minister Higino de Marrule, cited in Tuesday's issue of the Maputo daily "Noticias".
Speaking at the launch of this year's cotton marketing campaign, Marrule said the amount of raw cotton that should be sold during the campaign is estimated at 60,000 tonnes, which is a reduction of 8.7 per cent on the previous year, when almost 66,000 tonnes was marketed.
He urged the cotton purchasing companies to purchase all the raw cotton now in the hands of the producers in July and August, so as to put it on the international market by September, warning that the world price is likely to fall after this.
The minimum producer prices for raw cotton (approved by the government in May) are 23.3 meticais (about 38 US cents) a kilo for first grade cotton and 17 meticais a kilo for second grade.
"Since price is the key factor in increasing the production, productivity and quality of cotton, we encourage the companies that can pay more than the minimum to do so", said Marrule.
The cotton farmers themselves, he added, should guarantee the quality of their product, by starting the harvest on time, and by strictly separating first from second grade cotton, according to the standards laid down by the Mozambique Cotton Institute.
For this marketing campaign, Marrule said, 168 brigades had been set up throughout the country to cover 2,351 markets. 1.2 million sacks are available to bag the cotton, and 136 trucks will carry the cotton from the markets to the ginning mills.
Among the actions under way to stimulate cotton production, the Minister added, are the re-opening of a ginning mill in the southern city of Xai-Xai, the inauguration of a fertiliser factory in Beira, and the installation of a cotton seed oil processing plant in Montepuez, in the northern province of Cabo Delgado, which can produce 5,000 litres of oil a day.