The Zambia Cotton Ginners Association (ZCGA) has announced that the cotton marketing season has commenced - with ginning companies setting their own individual prices for cotton this year.
Although not involved in price-making decisions, the ZCGA noted that current prices of around KR1.8 to KR1.9 per kilogramme are reasonable based on world lint prices and that farmers should begin delivering their crop.
ZCGA Executive Secretary Bourne Chooka further said that prices being offered in Zambia compete favourably with regional producer prices, and urged farmers to take advantage of early trading to ensure prompt payment for their cotton.
“Farmers are encouraged to take advantage of the onset of the cotton intake to deliver their crop promptly to the designated ginners' buying points,” he said. Overseeing high standards in Zambia’s cotton industry, he added that any cotton delivered containing foreign body contamination such as water or sand will be confiscated without payment.
“It is important that Zambia continues to improve the quality of cotton which is retailed on an international market,” he said. “Appropriate action will be taken against farmers responsible for such contamination, and only quality, clean cotton will be bought,” he added.
Throughout Africa, the price of seed cotton is tied to the international price of lint - raw cotton after ginning - in US$ per kilogramme, and determined by global stocks. This phenomenon can be best illustrated by remembering what happened in 2011, when flooding in Pakistan, bad weather in China and India among other factors wiped out roughly a quarter of the world’s cotton crop, triggering a shortage on the international market and pushing seed cotton prices to record highs.
World lint prices then crashed the following season with excessive production worldwide due to the previous price-high and have since stabilised. Considering that the price of lint is determined by factors outside of Zambia, the price currently being offered to farmers of between KR1.8 to KR1.9 per kilogramme is in line with other countries in the region.
This year, ginners have invested roughly ZMW 87 million in advance loans to farmers in the form of inputs and more in training farmers in improving cotton yields and quality. Cotton is a very important crop for the 300,000 Zambian farmers and roughly 1.5 million families who depend on it.
Sub-Saharan Africa is the world’s fourth largest cotton exporter, accounting for almost 10 percent of the world’s cotton, placing it among the region’s most important agricultural exports together with coffee and cocoa. Today, Zambia’s cotton industry contributes US$ 60-70 million to the economy every year. ENDS.
Note to Editors:
The Cotton Ginners Association (ZCGA) is a body registered under the Societies Act Cap 119 of the Laws of Zambia. The body’s main objective is to provide a framework for cotton ginning companies to self regulate their activities and to establish, promote and manage integrated seed cotton pre-financing, production and marketing. It regulates ginning companies in respect of out grower schemes for the cultivation of seed cotton in Zambia and allocates members to represent ginners on the Cotton Board Zambia and Cotton Development Trust as well as other bodies. The body is also responsible for addressing financial losses caused to Members by practices such as pirate buying, side selling and partial pre-financing of inputs.