ZAMBIA has vast potential in cotton and textile industries which can be turn into sustainable forex earners as cotton production and textile development go hand in hand because the two sectors are interdependent.
According to Deputy Minister of Agriculture and Livestock Greyford Monde, the growth of the cotton industry is vulnerable to due lack of cost-effective farming strategies, which have ultimately resulted in a reduction in farmersâ€™ participation.
Farmers should begin to look at cultivation of cotton as a business just like any other mode of agriculture. Also, if local investors initiate the processing of raw cotton by ginning, spinning and finally fabric-making, then the farmers will be assured of a market for their fibre crop.
While Deputy Minister of Commerce, Trade and Industry Miles Sampa says that government has devised an innovative and deliberate programme to support existing local textile companies through procurement of a reservation scheme to promote wealth and jobs.
The two deputy ministersâ€™ stressing of the obvious is self-evident. Apart from its policy-making role, the government does not directly participate in mainstream business anymore and has significantly reduced ownership of commercial entities.
So the responsibility to invigorate the advancement of the cotton and textile sectors is on the local entrepreneurs, who can partner with foreign investors to play a fundamental role and grab opportunities availed by Government to make cotton farming and textiles economic drivers to guarantee sustainable jobs for the people and a large revenue for the country.
However, cotton production and the subsequent growth of the textile industry in Zambia have been hampered by an innumerable problems but progress is hampered by lack of cost-effective technologies and strategies.
It have adequate rains and the crop can also be irrigated in the dry season since there is sufficient surface water in major rivers and lakes, making in a perfect weather for production of the cotton crop.
However, Famine Early Warning Systems Network (FEWS NET), a research body of the United States Agency for International Development, which provides information and analysis on food insecurity in various parts of the world, has predicted that the cotton yield in Zambia is expected to drop in the 2013/2014 farming season.
This situation is not propitious for the growth of the textile industry as the nation will lose out on exports, especially to the United States of America under the Africa Growth and Opportunity Act initiative. Hence, it becomes extremely essential for the industry players to augment their efforts with the aim of setting the Zambian cotton and textile sector into sustainable foreign exchange earners. The private sector with support from the ministries of Agriculture and Livestock and Commerce, Trade and Industry can develop the cotton and textile sectors through their own initiatives.
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