COTTON farmers in the country are owed US$28 million by government, which has promised to process their payments by the end of March.
This was revealed yesterday in the National Assembly by Finance deputy minister Clemence Chiduwa in response to a question by Gokwe-Kabuyuni legislator Spencer Tshuma (Zanu PF) who wanted to know when cotton farmers woulwd be paid for lint delivered last season.
Tshuma said non-payment for the cotton delivered had severely affected farmers who were now failing to pay school fees for their children.
“Government has been paying in local currency and foreign currency. All agricultural produce prices are determined by the market. We have since paid the local currency component. The outstanding amount is US$28 million. We agreed that in order for us to pay out that money, we are paying US$5 million per week,” Chiduwa said.
“Government gives farmers land as well as inputs and we also buy maize from them. Now we are saying that is not the job of the government. Going forward, most of the agro products will have their prices driven by the market.
“So, we are calling on the private sector to come on board to work with the government.”
He said government was making efforts to revive the cotton industry through input subsidy schemes.
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