ZIMBABWE’S cotton selling season has begun and Cottco Ltd, which is the sole authorised buyer, has set aside $44 million to buy the crop.
This year, Zimbabwe is expected to produce 110 000 kg after a record low output of 30 000 kg last year.
Cottco managing director Mr Pius Manamike said the company had set aside $44 million to buy cotton during the selling season which opened on May 22.
“We are expecting more than 110 000 tonnes of cotton. We have set aside $44 million to buy the cotton,” he said.
Mr Manamike said Cottco would pay 55 cents per kilogramme for the top grade of cotton and 40 cents for the lowest Grade D crop.
THE retail price of top dressing fertiliser, otherwise known as ammonium nitrate (AN), will drop significantly after duty on ammonia gas — a key ingredient in the manufacture of fertilisers — was suspended with immediate effect.
This was in response to a request for duty exemption on the product by Sable Chemicals, the sole manufacturer of AN, which operates from Kwekwe. Ammonia gas is the raw material in the production of AN.
Sable applied for the suspension of duty on the basis that the country would be able to save scarce foreign currency by importing ammonia and converting it to AN as opposed to bringing into the country the finished product.
ZIMBABWE owes Botswana US$800 000 for vaccines supplied by its neighbour to help control the outbreak of foot and mouth disease (FMD) two years ago. While Gaborone had previously provided Harare with FMD vaccines for free, there was a consignment worth US$800 000 which had to be paid for.
Because of the prevailing cash crisis, Zimbabwe has been unable to pay for the consignment. This was revealed by Agriculture, Mechanisation and Irrigation Development Deputy Minister Paddy Zhanda.
“The first round of vaccinations should have been done last month, but there is no money and we also owe Bostwana US$800 000 for vaccines provided two years ago,” he said.
Zimbabwe is yet to begin its vaccination programme for FMD, with lack of funding emerging as the biggest hindrance.
THE Cold Storage Company (CSC) has partnered with a local fuel company to roll out a restocking and recapitalisation programme, which will see farmers getting heifers on loan basis to grow their herd.
The Government is nursing CSC, which is poised for a rebound backed by the coming on board of partners, to ensure it spearheads the Command Livestock programme whose working document is awaiting Cabinet approval.
A new CSC board was recently put in place while the National Social Security Authority (NSSA) has injected initial funding amounting to $18 million to kick-start CSC’s revival.
Speaking during the handover of heifers to Matabeleland South farmers under the livestock supply scheme at Maphaneni Ranch in Mangwe District last Thursday, the Deputy Minister of Agriculture, Mechanisation and Irrigation Development responsible for livestock, Paddy Zhanda, said the joint venture would go a long way in capacitating farmers and reviving CSC fortunes towards exporting beef.
CSC used to be the largest meat processor in Africa, handling up to 150 000 tonnes of beef and associated by-products a year and exporting beef to the EU, where it had an annual quota of 9 100 tonnes of beef.
THE Government has secured funds to pay for up to 1, 3 million tonnes of grain deliveries expected from farmers following the success of the Presidential Inputs Support and Command Agriculture schemes, Vice President Emmerson Mnangagwa said yesterday.
Officially opening the Zimbabwe International Business Conference at the Zimbabwe International Trade Fair, VP Mnangagwa said Government was still looking for more funds to cover the remainder of the expected two million plus tonnes of grain harvest this season.
“In order for farmers to prepare for winter wheat farming in earnest and pay for goods and services and other necessities, Government will ensure that farmers are paid on time,” he said.
“We already have enough funds to pay for 1,3 million tonnes of grain delivered to the Grain Marketing Board and we are still working on sourcing further funds because we believe that grain intake will exceed two million tonnes,” he said.
THE National University of Science and Technology (Nust) has designed a new ammonium production plant that could be a solution to the country’s fertiliser shortage.
The new technology is being exhibited at the on-going Zimbabwe International Trader Fair (ZITF), which has become a hub for technological contest between higher and tertiary learning institutions.
The Bulawayo-based university is showcasing the new technology, which can substitute fertiliser imports that have been gobbling millions of dollars from the economy each year. Nust director of communication and marketing, Mr Felix Moyo, told Business Chronicle yesterday that the ammonium production plant was a simplified and affordable version that is an important asset in the agricultural sector.
“A number of ammonium manufacturing companies have shut down in the country and this is the reason why the country is importing fertiliser.
VOLUMES of tobacco, which has been exported so far now stands at 42.5 million kg, a 14 percent rise from those exported in the corresponding period last year, statistics released by the Tobacco Industry and Marketing Board (TIMB) show.
In its weekly tobacco bulletin, the TIMB said revenue from tobacco exports for this year currently stand at $204.3 million, an 11 percent drop from $228.7 million grossed during the same period last year.
The tobacco crop is being exported at an average price of $4,81 per kg. China, Belgium, South Africa and Korea have been the major buyers of the flue-cured crop out of 46 countries.
China remains the top destination for local tobacco, after buying 13.8 million kg worth $114.4 million at an average price of $8,28 per kg. The second largest buyer is Belgium, which imported 4.7 million kg valued at $7.9 million while exports to Korea were 2.3 million kg valued at $10.6 million.
South Africa has topped the buyer’s list in Africa, buying 3.2 million kg of the golden leaf valued at $6.7 million. Meanwhile, TIMB said deliveries at both auction and contract sales rose significantly from a daily average of 3 million kg to current 4 million kg per day.
ZIMBABWE is expecting to receive 80 centre pivots worth over $6 million from Spain to aid irrigation under Command Agriculture, as Government moves to adopt new technologies and strengthen infrastructural development in support of the successful import-substitution programme.
Negotiations are already underway for another facility worth $60 million for bigger equipment from the same country, Agriculture, Mechanisation and Irrigation Development Minister Dr Joseph Made said yesterday.
The 80 centre pivots will come in batches of 20 and the first batch has now been prepared for shipment, with installation of the units expected to start next month.
The centre pivots will range in size from those which can irrigate 20 hectares to those for 80 hectares.
Over 1 000 tonnes of maize from the 2016/17 agricultural season have been delivered to the Grain Marketing Board (GMB) since the beginning of the month, the State’s grain procurer has said.
Speaking at the maize value chain conference in Harare last week, GMB acting general manager, Lawrence Jasi said harvesting of crops under the 2016/2017 agriculture season began early this month and farmers under command agriculture have started deliveries to GMB.
“Farmers have started deliveries for maize for the 2016/2017 agriculture season and the deliveries began on the first of April 2017. To date, we have received a total of 1 333 tonnes of maize from farmers,” he said.
Command agriculture was launched last year under a $500 million fund. Vice-President Emmerson Mnangagwa said the government is buying the maize at $390 per tonne, which is above international prices.
MANY villagers in Matabeleland North Province are now forced to guard their crops throughout the night to ward off warthogs that are invading their fields.
Speaking in a telephone interview, Umguza District Administrator Mrs Gloria Round, said her district was one of the affected areas.
“We received a formal report that elephants were becoming a menace but it later proved to be a false alarm. However, warthogs are terrorising the villagers and some people have lost most of their crops. This is becoming an annual phenomenon at this time of the year,” said Mrs Round.
Matabeleland North provincial chief Agritex officer Mr Dumisani Nyoni said most farmers were harvesting their crops before they reached maturity stage as a result of elephant and warthog menace.
Tobacco farmers are struggling to get their money at auction floors, as the country’s severe cash crunch continues to worsen.
This is despite the government’s recent directive to banks to pay tobacco farmers $1 000 for their initial sales.
Frustrated farmers who spoke to the Daily News yesterday confirmed that they had battled over the past three weeks to access money from both banking halls and at automated teller machines (ATMs). This had seen many of them sleeping out in the open on empty tummies, as they waited to access their money.
TOBACCO auction and contract seasonal sales rose by 42%, raking in $125,83 million as of Wednesday last week compared to the same period last year as deliveries increased ahead of the Easter and Independence holiday.
The Easter and Independence holidays ran from Friday up to yesterday.
Tobacco Industry and Marketing Board (TIMB) spokesperson Isheanesu Moyo told NewsDay yesterday that though the current tobacco season was benefitting from the rainy season, last week saw tobacco farmers rush to the floors in search of cash ahead of the holidays.
“The deliveries this season are generally higher, although due to the holidays people wanted to raise money for the holidays because the floors were going to be closed from Friday through to Tuesday (yesterday). People wanted to make money for the holidays so that they could use that money. But, generally this season is better than last season in terms of deliveries,” he said.
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