Cotton farmers cry for ginneries

Cotton Association of Zambia (CAZ) has urged the Government to set up at least seven more ginneries  in the country to improve cotton production and processing.

Association chairperson Christopher Mweetwa said the association only had one ginnery that was only commissioned two weeks ago by Commerce, Trade and Industry Minister Margaret Mwanakatwe.

He said the industry had a lot of potential to create jobs once the value addition issue caused by shortage of ginneries is sorted out.

‘’ We are thankful for the support we have received from the Government especially for the ginnery that was commissioned by Ms Mwanakatwe two weeks ago, but we will like to urge the Government to open more.

‘‘The industry has the potential to create more jobs once the value added issues are sorted out and these would only be sorted out if we secured a place where copper would be refined and processed,’’ he said.

The chairman said they would soon open another ginnery in Lundazi, Eastern Province, to be  commissioned by Ms Mwanakatwe.

Mr Mweetwa also appealed to Government to help in providing extension officers to train farmers in cotton production.

He said the extension officers would help the farmers acquire more knowledge about growing the crop which most farmers lacked, resulting in low yields.

‘’ We are lacking extension officers, we need them to train our farmers in the production of cotton; we have many farmers who are interested in the crop but are dormant in the farms because of lack of experience.‘’

HE also appealed to the Government through the Ministry of Agriculture to help CAZ formulate a board that would help address issues in the association.

He explained that the last board was dissolved in 2014 and the association had failed to tackle many issues due to lack of representation.

‘‘I would again want to appeal to the Government of Zambia through the Ministry of Agriculture to help our association formulate a board that would help us address many issues in the development of cotton. The last board we had was in 2014 and was dissolved and at the moment we have no representation,’’ he said.