Cotton farmers are stranded, saying the Agriculture Development and Marketing Corporation (Admarc) bought their produce two months ago and is yet to pay.
President of the Cotton Farmers Association (Cofa), Dickson Gundani, confided in The Daily Times that the farmers were promised to be paid a week after supplying the crop.
“A lot of farmers are stranded. This is the money that we depend on to support our families and more importantly start preparations for the next growing season,” Gundani said.
Admarc Spokesperson, Agness Chikoko Ndovi, said the parastatal has not received money for procurement of cotton from the government, hence the delay in settling the dues.
“Admarc bought cotton as buyer of last resort but government has not yet released the money. We are still waiting. Once the money has been released, we will pay the farmers,” Chikoko said.
The government resorted to have Admarc buy the crop alone from farmers this year following disagreements on minimum buying price with the remaining three private ginners.
Cotton production has been on the decline in the country from 100,000 metric tonnes in the 2011/12 season to producing around 10,000 metric tonnes in recent years.
The number of ginners buying the crop in the country has also declined from 13 in 2012 to the currently four.