Business

Mozambique smallholder farmers boasting cotton production

In May of this year, the Minister of Agriculture, Celso Correia, took the cotton industry by surprise in announcing that the government will be cutting cotton subsidies for farmers. 

Cotton production in Mozambique had hit solid rock bottom after reaching its peak in 2011-2012 at 180 000 tons. In 2020, the Ministry of Agriculture invested US$4 million to subsidize the 2020 cotton campaign. 

According to the Mozambique government, it expected good yields in this campaign season motivated by the buoyance of the cotton private companies agreeing to pay ‘25 meticais a kilo minimum price.’ 

The Better Cotton Initiative (BCI) said that cotton was the most important agricultural export crop in Mozambique, “and one of the major sources of income for rural households in central and northern Mozambique.”

With the BCI intervention and partners, Mozambique was planning become SADC first country to produce 100% of its cotton as ‘Better Cotton.’ 

“The Cotton Institute of Mozambique (IAM), the government body that oversees the cotton sector, carried out a limited number of successful seed production initiatives in collaboration with cotton companies and is committed to creating a public-private seed company” this according ISEAL International that carried out a study on cotton production in Mozambique. 

The strong demand for better cotton by leading fashion and sportswear brands, have necessitated a review by Mozambique to invest in cotton production. OLAM, the world’s second largest cotton merchant, is heavily involved in the production, buying and selling of cotton in Mozambique. 

Other companies have joined the ranks by collaborating with government and cotton farmer organisations including unions. 

Mozambique model has further propelled Cotton SA to adopt similar conditions and recently applied for continuation of statutory measures in order to fund generic functions like transformation. 

“A lot is also being done to develop our smallholder cotton farmers and empower them to again increase their hectares of cotton planted for the coming season” said the Chief Executive Officer of Cotton SA Hennie Bruwer. 

Cotton SA currently provides smallholder farmers with services such as mentoring and training, capacity building, access to affordable funding and market access through offtake agreements.

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