Agriculture Reporter THE Agricultural Marketing Authority (AMA) is currently seized with crafting cotton standards for 2022 through the National Seed Cotton Standard Boxes Refurbishment exercise in accordance with Statutory Instrument 142 of 2009.
Cotton merchants, farmer representative organisations and Agritex will also be consulted for the final approval of the 2022 seed cotton standards.
AMA communications manager, Mr Munyaradzi Mlambo on Wednesday confirmed the development.
“The purpose of cotton standardisation is to ensure that it has the quality that is internationally accepted and recognised. It is through conforming to these standards that local cotton will be able to fetch a higher price on the international market leading to a better producer price for local farmers.
“Cotton quality deteriorates with time therefore its standards must be renewed every year,” he said.
Meanwhile farmers have welcomed the foreign currency payment component for cotton that Government announced recently.
This season, US$30 shall be paid in foreign currency per 250 kilogrammes bale delivered and the rest will be paid in local currency.
Government has pegged the pre-planting cotton producer price at US$63, 23 for the crop produced under Government’s Pfumvudza/Intwasa programme and US$111, 17 per kilogramme cotton financed under non-Government funded arrangements.
On the one hand, Government has revived the cotton industry by issuing free inputs to farmers under the Presidential Scheme. Under the facility, farmers are given seed, fertilisers and chemicals for free.
In some areas farmers are also assisted with tillage services.
The Presidential Inputs Scheme was extended to cotton after farmers had abandoned the crop citing viability challenges and the very high prices many merchants were charging for inputs, coupled with the very slow payment systems.
Beneficiaries of the Presidential Inputs Scheme now boast acquiring tractors, grinding mills, irrigation equipment and household furniture.
A number of the smallholder farmers can now send their children to decent schools while others have developed their homesteads and acquired livestock from the cotton proceeds.