By Shamiso Ndangana
Lands and Agriculture Permanent Secretary John Basera has reiterated that only the Grain Marketing Board (GMB) and authorised agencies can export unginned cotton from the country.
These measures are contained in the Grain Marketing (Control of Sale of Cotton) Regulations 2021, which is Statutory Instrument 96 of 2021 and this technically means that side-marketing of cotton has been criminalised in the country.
Giving oral evidence to a portfolio committee in Parliament, Basera said “No person other than the GMB or any authorised agency shall export from Zimbabwe cotton of any quantity or description until such a date that shall be specified by the ministers by way of noticing the government gazette.
“Where there is reasonable suspicion that cotton is being sold in contravention of these regulations, an authorised person or police officer may seize the cotton in question or seize any vehicle,” he said.
The permanent secretary added that the GMB will also not buy cotton from unregistered farmers, producers, or contractors.
“The GMB shall not acquire cotton from any person other than a contract farmer or producer or contractor.
“Any cotton which is required to be sold to GMB authorised agency in terms of this section, shall be delivered in such a time, and place and quantities as the board or authorised agency may directly under such terms and conditions as they have been provided by the board or authorised agency.”
The move is seeking to eliminate issues of middleman who often dupe farmers or are fuelling side marketing of cotton.
“This is creating an obligation that creates an environment where it eliminates the middleman. Only those contract farmers or producers can sale direct to GMB or the authorised person.
“In order to secure the contracted obligations, the contracted farmers shall deliver contract produce in accordance with the agreed provisions of the scheme contract or at the nearest GMB or any authorised agency.”