Minister blasts Cottco

Minister blasts Cottco
Published: 14 August 2017
Agriculture, Mechanisation and Irrigation Development Minister Dr Joseph Made has hit out at Cottco officials for making public statements that distabilise the sector.

In an interview, Dr Made said the Cottco officials should instead work hard and increase the company's grading capacity.

"If Cottco is not careful, it will drive farmers away," he said. "There has been a story on cotton being graded later and as the Minister of Agriculture, I do not support that. Cottco should avoid making public statements that may destabilise the delicate sector.

"The President wants to resuscitate the cotton industry and we should not create despondency. Cottco management should not make public statements without consulting the Minister. The sooner they keep quiet and concentrate on their work, the better.

"Farmers are now becoming suspicious because of Cottco statements. Farmers are also rationale and we should not appear tricky. We must learn to sit down with unions, consult properly and work in a harmonious way of approaching matters because the President wants to resuscitate the cotton industry.''

Dr Made warned the Cottco officials against making public statements that could scare away farmers from delivering the State-sponsored cotton and force growers to side market or smuggle the crop out of the country.

He assured farmers that cotton would continue to be graded in time.

"Cotton will continue to be graded," he said. "We are just about to start another season and farmers should be treated well so that they do not abandon the crop. The cotton industry is not yet fully recovered.

"We are battling to ensure farmers get inputs early in case we have early showers. Cotton is important to augment the foreign currency earnings."

Dr Made expressed concern over reports that cotton farmers could smuggle the crop out of the country to sell to companies offering cash, saying the law would take its course.

"We want farmers unions to work closely with Cottco and resolve their problems," he said. "We want cotton to be graded timeously and Cottco should increase its grading capacity. Cottco should facilitate the well being of farmers because if there are no farmers there is no cotton."
- the herald
Tags: Cottco,


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