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Zone system in cotton abolished

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NKHONO-MVULA

Cotton Farmers Association of Malawi (Cofam) and cotton ginners have agreed to abolish zone system of selling the commodity, under which one ginner was assigned a zone to buy from.

The farmers earlier lamented that the system does not give ground for competition, which, in turn, subjects the commodity to poor prices.

Cofam President Dickson Gundani said the two parties have agreed to abolish the system next season.

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He added that they have agreed that farmer’s loan payment to ginners will be by deduction at selling point by the other buyer.

“The system has been abolished in all regions except some areas such as Karonga District, where there is no ginner so the only buyer is Agricultural Development and Marketing Corporation but we are also in discussion with a new ginner if they can consider having their plant there,” he said.

The zone system was established for coordination on input, farming and the required output according to demand.

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The system also helped farmers to be empowered by ginners through the provision of seeds, chemicals and extension services on loan since farmers were complaining that they lack capacity to produce according to demand.

Agriculturalist Tamani Nkhono Mvula said abolition of the system may affect output if ginners pull out of helping farmers with loans.

“If they (farmers) are able to stand on their own, then it is a good arrangement, but if they are still dependent on these companies for input then there is bound to be problems because it is unfair that they should get seed and fertilizer from a particular company and sell to another one,” Mvula said.

The 2021 cotton marketing season closed at the end of last month.

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