Swazi cotton sales likely to touch E16m with production increasing majorly

YarnsandFibers News Bureau 2014-06-17 16:15:00 – Swaziland

Swaziland government continues to play a major role in supporting cotton farmer due to this the income from cotton sales has moved from E1.6 million to E13m in 2013. As there is a significant increase in cotton production, its sales are expected to rise in the current season to E16 million.

Swaziland Minister of Agriculture Moses Vilakati said that cotton as a major role to play in the country. Production has also significantly increased from 394 to 2 485 metric tonnes between 2008 and 2013.

There are a number of schemes and efforts and they include injecting E8.5m capital to retain the ginnery, establishment of a ‘revolving fund’ to assist farmers purchase inputs on credits established.

A cotton board has been established to assist cotton growers with the technical expertise with regard to cotton production techniques.

In the current financial year, government has allocated the cotton ginnery E1m to assist the board to recover from the scourge of fire that destroyed a portion of the ginnery. This facilitated operations and improved service delivery to cotton farmers.

The Swaziland Cotton Ginnery provides a strategic market for all cotton produced by local farmers and is strategic to receiving cotton from areas producing the crop in the neighbouring countries.

It offers an opportunity for cotton value addition which culminated to job creation at both the ginnery and cotton product users like spinners and oil producers.

According to Vilakati, the throughput of the ginnery was 25 000 metric tonnes but currently it was operating at 20%. This poses a challenge to the Swazi nation, especially cotton growers to utilise the land lying idle in order to increase the production of cotton in Swaziland.

This can be one way of creating employment opportunities and improving lives for Swazis. It, therefore means that sustainability and profitability of the ginnery lies with the cotton producers in Swaziland.

Cotton, a major cash crop for farmers in the dry Middleveld and Lowveld of Swaziland and also a source of livelihood to more than 18 000 Swazis. The ginnery at Big bend has employed a total of 87 permanent and seasonal employees.

For cotton producers mainly in the Lowveld and dry Middleveld, vision 2022 can be achieved if they utilised every available resource to maximise production. This will contribute positively to the increase in price of cotton thus increasing household income.

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