The cotton marketing season opened on Thursday with the minimum price pegged at K375 per kilogramme (kg), the Cotton Council of Malawi (CCM) has said.
Speaking during a media briefing in Lilongwe to announce the opening of the markets, CCM executive director Cosmas Luwanda said they will remain open for the next 90 days and advised farmers to sell the crop at designated markets.
“The minimum price for seed cotton has been arrived at through a rigorous consultative process with industry stakeholders taking into account the cost of production and prevailing international market prices,” he said.
Luwanda said the price has not changed from last year, adding that cotton farmers would be deducted K20/kg to contribute to Cotton Development Fund.
He said CCM has adopted regulations to guide cotton marketing and protect the interest of growers and buyers.
Said Luwanda: “Pursuant to the provisions of Cotton Act 2013, buying of seed cotton will only be done at centres designated by CCM. Any cotton buyer who contravenes this order commits an offence under Cotton Act 2013.
“Only licensed cotton buyers will be allowed to buy seed cotton.”
He said buyers would be allocated centres where to buy cotton and where farmers entered into a production and marketing contract with a buyer, other buyers are not allowed to buy from the contracted farmers.
The regulations also provide for a market committee comprising Cotton Farmers Association and ginners has been formed at each designated centre.
To ensure proper enforcement of these regulations and marketing arrangements, 197 marketing posts have also been designated nationwide.
Figures from the Ministry of Agriculture, Irrigation and Water Development second round crop estimates show that the country has produced 24 000 metric tonnes (MT)of cotton.