By Polite Ndhlovu
Cotton farmer are still staring looking for a ray of hope as 2020 plans still remain a distance shimmering down below the waters of the wishing well as fate has thought otherwise. All is not gloomy for the cotton farmers as unprecedented events took place for the 2020 season. Farmers are yet to receive their payments and it is even not clear if they will.
2020 and now spilling into 2021 farmers could not drink the sweet nectar from their sweat. They could not enjoy earnings from cotton sell. This year things are not that glossy. Farmers are drenched in their own tears as they look in sorrow, regretting their sweat as they are yet to be paid their dues. Cottco, once African giant in the cotton industry is failing to pay farmers their monies and is failing to give answers as to what is taking place. All farmers have to do is pray for better days to come and come soon.
After harvesting farmers were given ZW$ 1000 Ecocash per bail of cotton which on average should weight around 250 Kg. this money is so insignificant considering that farmers will have to wait for the whole full season to get money. They will be having a lot of back log to cover. They were left with no option but to pick essential of the amount could not acquire even a quarter of them.
Now the company have moved to giving people groceries. Farmers are now forced to take things they do not need as payment for their white gold. “We are left with no choice. Now all our plans have gone sideways. All we can do is just to accept what we are being offered. As for myself I’m planning to buy a motorbike. That may be I will have something to show for the season” said one Farmer from Gokwe who identified himself as Mabhandi.
One of the group chairpersons of the company who spoke in anonymity showed his disapproval. “The events have disfranchised farmers. This coming season very few people will grow the crop (Cotton). What is happening is so saddening. We have been bombarded by questions by farmers. Now we have no any lullaby to tell them. The company need to fix this.” He said
“Now we are also wondering how we are going to pay our debts and school fees. We need money to pay for these but here we are crowding at the company premises to get groceries. We will never be able to use these groceries to pay fees. This will also plunge us in more debts. We will not be able to buy inputs and we will be looking to borrow from Cottco again. This is now making farmers to be slaves of the company.” He added
Phibion Gono under Headman Murena in Masakadza under chief Nemangwe is yet to get his dues. He gave the company seven bales and nothing has shown. “We are languishing in poverty yet we had prepared very well for ourselves. i gave Cottco seven bales but I have nothing to show for that” he said.
The same sentiments were echoed by Never Makwikwi who delivered fifteen bales only to get payment for three. The rest is yet to be settled. Philip Musairwa also had ten bales delivered to Cottco and nothing has been done yet.
The move again has destroyed business in rural areas. Most of the business people look forward to the cotton harvesting season. With farmers now getting the groceries thanks have not been rose for business. Now they will have to wait for next year harvesting season.