Cotton Council of Malawi (CCM) has said government plans to adopt the input supply model in the cotton sector to increase the crop’s output.
CCM interim secretary Bartholomew Ngauma said in an interview on Wednesday, the model will protect cotton farmers who are affected by harsh weather conditions and high input cost, resulting in reduced crop output.
“Access to inputs and pricing plays a big role in cotton production in the country. Currently, the Cotton Council of Malawi is doing ground work to sort out access to inputs as it has been established that a lot of ginners who promised to give out inputs have not yet honoured their promise because some farmers had defaulted on loans,” he said.
Ngauma said they also want to strengthen cotton farmers’ associations capacity to articulate issues of farm inputs by, among other things, borrowing a leaf from their neighbouring countries to increase cotton production to about 100 000 metric tonnes per annum.
The agriculture production estimates released last week show that cotton production will drop to 48 091 metric tonnes, which experts have said is due to adverse weather conditions the country is facing due to the effects of El Niño.
For three years running, cotton production has been on the decline since Malawi produced a record 100 000 metric tonnes in 2012/13 season.
Over the years, output has been on the decline.
Recently, the Washington-based International Cotton Advisory Committee indicated that World ending stocks for cotton are projected to decrease by seven percent to 20.5 million tonnes, which represents about 81 percent of world cotton production in 2015/16.
According to the committee, 2015/16 world cotton production is forecast to drop by 14 percent to 22.5 million tonnes.
Earlier, Cotton Farmers Association of Malawi vice chairperson George Nnesa said they will lobby government for better prices this year as one way of increasing production of the crop.
“The sector is marred by poor prices almost in all the growing seasons, and as such, farmers are left destitute as they fail to realise gains from their sweat,” he said.
Cotton is one of the country’s export crops and experts argue the crop has huge economic potential and could rake in substantial amount of foreign exchange for the country. n