By KETRA KALUNGA
FARMERS in Central Province engaged by the government in the Mulungushi Cotton Outgrower Scheme have demanded for a better price that would motivate them to produce enough for the factory earmarked for reopening next year.
About 3, 000 farmers in the province have been engaged in the scheme to grow cotton to feed the Zambia China Mulungushi Textiles Joint Venture and have been supplied with free cotton seed and chemicals.
Mr Richwell Muleya, a farmer of Mkushi district, said the initiative is timely because it would not only encourage farmers to increase cotton production but also provide a ready market.
Mr. Muleya said in an interview that the out grower scheme should aim at providing farmers in the country with a reasonable and profitable price.
He said cotton farmers have for years been grappling with haphazard cotton marketing hence the time for the new dawn government to change the narrative.
Mr. Muleya feels that the cotton out grower scheme is the beginning of an organised cotttonmarketing in the country.
“Farmers have always had na haphazard arrangement of cotton marketing in Zambia, with the coming of the out grower, this is the beginning of an organised cottton marketing in the country,” he said.
Mr Muhau Nawa, a Kabwe farmer said he is optimistic the out grower scheme would provide a ready market and profitable price.
Mr. Nawa said the initiative would also encourage cotton farmers that have abandoned the crop due to poor pricing to resume production.
“We anticipate a reasonable and competitive price and this would also increase cotton production not only in the country,” he said.
Defence Minister, Ambrose Lufuma on Tuesday flagged off the distribution of cotton seed and chemicals to farmers in Kabwe district in readiness for this year’s farming season.