Zvamaida Murwira Senior Reporter
Members of Parliament have expressed concern over a legal instrument on cotton contracting companies, saying it protects private firms more than it does the Presidential Input Scheme that holds 98 percent of the market share.
Parliament’s committee on Lands and Agriculture said the Statutory Instrument promulgated by the Ministry of Lands, Agriculture, Fisheries, Water and Rural Resettlement identifying five companies as the sole buyers of contracted lint did not protect Cottco, which holds 98 percent of the market share of farmers contracted under the Presidential Input Scheme.
The Committee, chaired by Gokwe Nembudziya legislator Cde Justice Mayor Wadyajena (Zanu PF) said this today in Parliament when officials from the Ministries of Lands, Agriculture, Fisheries, Water and Rural Resettlement and Finance and Economic Development, Cottco and Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe Governor, Dr John Mangudya, appeared before it to discuss payments for cotton.
Legislators took turns to berate the Statutory Instrument which they felt armed four private firms to buy contracted cotton, including that of Presidential Inputs Scheme that should be bought by Cottco.
They said there was not enough restrictions to stop the firms from making misrepresentation to vulnerable and desperate farmers to sell them the lint that should solely be sold to Cottco.
“Why should we have an SI that protects companies with two percent share instead of Presidential Inputs Scheme that have 98 percent,” said Cde Wadyajena. “We are encouraging these companies to go out in the rural areas to steal Presidential Input Scheme. In your wisdom, what were you trying to achieve.”
Secretary for Lands, Agriculture, Fisheries, Water and Rural Resettlement, Dr John Basera, said while the issues raised by legislators were pertinent, the essence of the legal instrument was to ring-fence contracted cotton from being side-marketed.