Minister of Trade Sosten Gwengwe says he is impressed with the contribution cotton investment companies are making to boost the cotton industry in the country.
The minister said this on Saturday when he visited China-Africa Textile Company in Salima to appreciate the work the firm is doing and the challenges it is facing in its operations.
In an interview, Gwengwe said companies such as China-Africa Textile have huge potential to boost the country’s economy.
He said: “The availability of markets and good prices motivate farmers to grow more cotton.
“Therefore, the presence of this company will encourage more farmers to venture into growing cotton as they will know that there is a readily available market in the country.”
China-Africa Textile Company general manager Huang Hai mentioned power outages and shortage of cotton lint as some of the major challenges.
He said cotton growers supply about 10 000 metric tonnes (MT) of cotton lint, which is way below the demand at 20 000MT every year.
Huang said Covid-19 has also affected the company’s production and the purchase of cotton from local farmers this year.
Cotton is one of the country’s lucrative crops along its value chain and contributes about three percent to the country’s economy.
The crop is also critical in government’s diversification efforts away from tobacco, which is facing pressure from anti-smoking lobbyists.