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Admarc not buying cotton

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Rhino Chiphiko

The 2022 cotton buying season started on Friday with the Cotton Council of Malawi announcing a list of four buyers to buy the crop this year.

Conspicuously missing from the list is State-owned grain marketer, the Agricultural Development and Marketing Corporation (Admarc).

The four registered buyers are Afresian Limited, Malawi Cotton Limited, Millenium Farms Limited and Chattiah Textiles Limited.

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Cotton Council of Malawi Executive Director Madaika Cosmas Luwanda said Admarc did not meet the criteria used to register a buyer for cotton.

Among others, Luwanda said the registered buyers were supposed to support the growers with inputs for the crop.

“For a firm to be registered to participate in cotton buying, the firm must have invested in cotton production by supporting farmers with inputs such as cotton seed, pesticides and sprayers as a demonstration of passion for the growth of the cotton industry,” Luwanda said.

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Admarc General Manager Rhino Chiphiko Sunday said despite having three modern cotton ginneries at Ngabu in Chikwawa, Balaka and Ngala in Karonga, the corporation would not participate in the buying of cotton.

According to Chiphiko, Admarc did not have the money to support growers in the production of the crop this year.

“In our budget, there was no money to support cotton production,” he said.

This year, Malawi has produced 23,000 metric tonnes of the crop.

Recently, the Ministry of Agriculture announced K400 per kilogrammes as the minimum price for buying seed cotton this year.

According to Luwanda, the cotton market is expected to run for 90 calendar days only.

He said the cotton council has put in place a cocktail of measures to protect growers from unscrupulous traders and middlemen who offer low prices to farmers, aggregate seed cotton and sell to ginners at higher prices.

Luwanda said the measures would also help protect ginners’ investments by ensuring that all farmers that got input loans from the ginners pay back their loans.

African Institute for Corporate Citizenship acting Head of Programmes Leonard Chimwaza said his organisation expects cotton prices to be better this year, saying the tonnage produced is very low.

Chimwaza said AICC expects the buyers to scramble for the little cotton available on the market.

He urged cotton cooperatives and farmer clubs to aggregate their cotton so that it eases the task for the buyers.

Chimwaza further urged the growers to invest much energy and time in grading their cotton so that it fetches better prices.

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