ZIMBABWE has saved $20 million this year through the use of locally ginned seed in cooking oil and stock feed manufacturing, said Cottco managing director Pious Manamike.
Mr Manamike said this last week during the 6th Annual Agribusiness Conference in Harare.
This must come as good news to the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe (RBZ), which has previously indicated that the importation of crude oil and fuel was gobbling the bulk of foreign currency in the country.
Fuel requires about $20 million per week, and projections are that almost $1 billion would have been used by year-end.
Cooking oil manufacturers require about $20 million per month for the importation of soya beans, crude edible oils and other raw materials to meet demand for cooking oil and other related products.
Said Mr Manamike: “The use of local(ly) ginned seed in cooking oil and stock feed manufacturing resulted in forex (foreign exchange) savings of $20 million in 2018.
“The production volumes and financial benefits remain on a growth trajectory.”
The rise in foreign currency savings from the cooking oil sector come at a time cotton output jumped by 89 percent to 140 000 tonnes this year compared to 74 000 last year.
In 2016, cotton output was 28 000 and the recent surge in output follows the decision by Government to increase hactarage under the Presidential Input Scheme.
The Scheme has seen close to 400 000 farmers going to the fields and 400 000ha being put under cotton production.
Mr Manamike called for the continuation of the Presidential Scheme so as to boost output and consequently foreign currency generation.
“In this set up, private ginners will be starting at the ginning stage by toll ginning for Cottco while merchants will start at the trading stage by buying lint from Cottco.
“Side marketing will be minimised if not eliminated,” said Mr Manamike.
Mr Manamike said privatising the cotton sector will make farmers unviable as side marketing would become the order of the day.
Government has since announced its intention to restructure the Agricultural Marketing Authority (AMA) with the hope of resolving the challenges facing farmers in marketing their produce.
Both President Mnangagwa and Vice President Constantino Chiwenga last week indicated Government’s willingness to overhaul AMA.
Farmers have sharpened their knives against AMA on allegations of failing to resolve the chaotic marketing of various crops mainly cotton.
AMA was set up by Government primarily to promote agricultural production of strategic crops such as tobacco, cotton, sugar, soya beans and barley.
Further, AMA is mandated with promoting marketing and fair pricing of agricultural commodities and promoting contract farming through encouraging private sector participation.