Police, Cottco join forces to tackle seed cotton side-marketing

By Staff Reporter

The Cotton Company of Zimbabwe (COTTCO) has joined forces with police to combat rampant side-marketing of seed cotton whose inputs are issued to local farmers under the government’s Presidential Inputs Scheme (PIS).

In a joint statement, police and Cottco vowed to come hard on both farmers and buyers found engaging in the practice which they say undermines the official cotton marketing system.

“The Zimbabwe Republic Police will ensure that the law takes its course on anyone found to be side-marketing seed cotton produced through Presidential Input Scheme (PIS),” read the statement.

“In this regard, any buyer who will try to influence farmers to engage in side marketing activities will also be brought to book.”

Side-marketing is a form of contract default where contracted farmers sell their cotton to third parties in breach of the parties’ contractual agreement, which states that cotton shall only be sold to or bought by contractor who provided inputs to farmer.

Farmers are often tempted to sell the produce to external buyers who are always ready to pay hard cash even at hugely reduced prices.

To further counter the practice, Cottco has promised immediate payment to farmers who deliver the the produce to the government owned entity.

“This season, Cottco is making immediate payments for seed cotton delivered at common buying points.

“Farmers are strongly encouraged to secure their funds and minimise the risks of robberies as well as the potential loss of funds.”

Under the Presidential Inputs Scheme, said the two organisations, farmers receive inputs such as seeds, chemicals, fertilisers, tillage and agronomy support at no cost.

“In return, they are expected to establish, maintain and deliver seed cotton to Cottco when marketing commenced.”

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