Govt secures $1,2m EU cotton funding

GOVERNMENT has secured a $1,2 million fund from the European Union (EU) for the cotton-to-clothing strategy, which seeks to lift the fortunes of the cotton value chain.

BY BUSINESS REPORTER

The clothing sector is currently operating at between 35% and 45% capacity, with the Association of Cotton Value Adders of Zimbabwe (ACVAZ) set to host the first inaugural cotton-to-clothing indaba on Friday.

Speaking at a Press conference in the capital yesterday, Industry and Commerce minister Mike Bimha said the grant was being channelled through the Common Market for Eastern and Southern Africa (Comesa), under its regional support measures.

“To date, 12% of the fund has been utilised. A private-public sector implementation management committee, ACVAZ was established to spearhead the strategy implementation as well as to guide developments in the sector. Under the Comesa regional support measures fund, the ministry has facilitated various building programmes for value chain,” he said.

“These include participation of sector players at regional trade fairs, clothing manufacturers rebate, textiles manufacturers’ rebate, and an imports management programme.”

The cotton-to-clothing strategy has been pegged as a five-year programme with six major targets.

These targets are increasing cotton yields by 71%, which has been severely affected by the drought, forcing cotton farmers to turn to tobacco; yearly seed cotton production of 450 000 tonnes, and to increase ginning capacities to 69,5%.

The other targets are increasing volumes of cotton fibre by about 25% from a current 3% to 5%; raising the country’s annual lint exports to 90 000 tonnes depending on better crop production and creating 40 000 new jobs in the process.

Bimha said among the challenges affecting cotton production was drought, which saw a drastic decrease in cotton lint production to 10 800 tonnes, down from 41 000 tonnes before the drought.

“Access to affordable capital remains a challenge, especially to the textiles sector. Due to financial constraints, companies are not able to complement government efforts, for example, Statutory Instrument 64 of 2016, to revive the sector,” he said.


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