Those in charge of Cottco must quickly change their ways: Mnangagwa
President Emmerson Mnangagwa has slagged the Cotton Company of Zimbabwe (Cottco) for allowing exploitative companies to buy cotton from communal farmers at extortionately low prices and raking in foreign exchange earnings yet failing to pay the producers on time.
Cottco is the largest cotton producing, processing and marketing company in the country with an 80 percent market share.
“Those in charge of Cottco must quickly change their ways; there is no time any longer, certainly no patience in us to suffer their reprehensible conduct.
“The cotton, after all, by right belongs to the Government by virtue of input support,” he said.
“The earnings being stashed abroad belong to this country. Government shall have what it is owed; farmers shall be paid what is overdue to them.
“Above all, the economy will have all its earnings transparently accounted for by all players, Cottco included.”
“Government moved in to support cotton growers by way of seed, chemicals and fertilisers, all this at no cost to cotton companies.
“Once harvested, these risk-averse or downright exploitative companies buy all the cotton, quite often at very low, extortionate prices,” he said.
“Much worse, they do not pay farmers on time or make them have a share in foreign exchange earnings they rake in.
“It makes one to wonder what the real goal is. Yet this is an agricultural sub-sector giving livelihoods to thousands of our people in rural areas.
A product which, over the years, has created numerous cotton magnates, all on the back of unrewarded peasant effort,” said Mnangagwa.