Malawi Cotton Company, a Chinese firm, in collaboration with Cotton Council of Malawi have engaged an extra gear to revamp the cotton sector through input support initiative.
The initiative, which is receiving support from the Chinese government, will target close to 6 000 cotton farmers in the pilot phase.
In an interview, the firm’s representative, Webber Chen, said the initiative has been inspired by the downward spiral of cotton production, which dipped to as low at 15 000 tonnes last year, due to poor market prices, bad weather and lack of input support initiatives.
“As a cotton company, we were so concerned bearing in mind that cotton is one of the crops that help farmers earn a living. At the same time, as a ginner, we would not have cotton to gin if farmers completely abandoned the crop,” he said.
Chen said the cotton firm plans to construct a textile factory in Salima and would want abundant supply of cotton as a raw material.
The input support initiative will see 1 000 farmers receive free high-quality Chureza cotton seed while 5 000 others will get the seed on 100 percent loan repayable after cotton sales.
Ministry of Agriculture, Irrigation and Water Development director of administration Maxwell Tsitsi advised farmers to operate in groups to maximise the initiative through easy access to lucrative cotton markets.
Cotton Council of Malawi executive director Cosmas Luwanda said most farmers abandoned cotton production because of a disorganised market system which created loopholes.