Cotton rakes in K3.6 billion
The Cotton Council of Malawi (CCM) has indicated that the country has realised about K3.6 billion from the sale of 10,000 metric tonnes (mt) of seed cotton since the market started.
CCM Executive Director Cosmas Luanda said in an interview that the market has been going on well, evidenced by an increase in prices.
The government set a minimum price of K320 per kilogramme (kg) but, on average, the crop is fetching around K360 per kg.
Luanda said the council has stepped up efforts to ensure that the crop is traded only in designated places and by licenced companies.
“We have taken to court four vendors who were buying cotton from undesignated places and were not licenced. We are working together with the police to ensure that there is sanity in the industry and this is consistent with the general government regulations because cotton is a protected crop,” Luanda said.
Africa Institute for Corporate Citizenship (AICC) Manager for Cotton Platform Isaac Tembo said there was a huge improvement on the market when compared to last season.
“This means that farmers have been able to make considerable amounts of money and it will build confidence in other farmers to join the sector next year. However, we need to improve on value addition because 98 percent of the seed cotton we produce is exported and is sold at cheaper prices than if we were exporting finished products,” Tembo said.
He added that the earnings are expected to increase further as the volumes sold were just below half of the projected production for cotton this year at 25,000MT.
This is coming at a time stakeholders in the industry are propagating increased production of the crop to enhance earnings from the same.
In 2011, production reached 100,000mt after the government supported the sector with an input fund.
However, production has been decreasing to a record low of 6,000mt in 2017.
Low cotton production has also resulted in ginning companies operating at less than 20 percent capacity despite a total ginning capacity of 450,000mt.