"Cotton Industry on Death Bed" Say Farmers
Some cotton farmers in the country say government must trade carefully on the market issues this year else production of the crop will continue to go down.
One of the farmers Moses Tsamba has told Zodiak online that only a few farmers have grown cotton this year due to poor prices and lack of a stable market the previous season.
This has led to most farmers shun the crop this year and have opted for maize.
"The variety that we are cultivating nowadays is very expensive, so government needs to come up with a mechanism of subsidy to enable more farmers to buy the seed just like government is doing with other crops like maize," Tsamba said.
According to Tsamba has told us that government should move with speed to find means of stimulating the production of the crop which has the potential of making a significant contribution to the economy with tobacco facing numerous challenges.
"The issue of prices should also be addressed this year if we are to see more farmers rejoining the industry." He added.
However, spokesperson in the ministry of Agriculture Gracian Lungu admits the environment has not been favorable to cotton farmers attributing it to among other issues Covid 19 which has affected the international market.
"Cotton farmers have indeed requested Government to consider subsidizing cottonseed as a short term measure to stimulate production after the impact of the COVID 19, the proposal will still be considered together with other options available to manage the situation," said Lungu.
He said the pricing issues for this season are yet to be concluded based on international lint price trends.
Malawi has over the years been producing low volumes of cotton up to about 20,000 metric tonnes far below the demand by ginners.