Malawi will soon start registering all its cotton growers with the yet to be established Cotton Council following the passing of the Cotton Bill by Parliament early this month.
Cotton Farmers Association of Malawi President, George Duncan Nnesa, said in an interview it was one of the provisions under the newly enacted Cotton Act that all farmers of the crop scattered across the country should be registered.
“Growers have just been planting cotton anyhow without proper organisation. But once the Cotton Council has been set up, farmers will have to register before they start growing cotton,” said Nnesa.
He said only registered farmers will be allowed to grow cotton in the country.
He said the registration process would allow the council to know how many cotton farmers are there in the country.
“Farmers will also benefit as they have chances to negotiate on the prices through the council since the price is controlled internationally,” said Nnesa.
He also said through the council, farmers will be able to access inputs such as seeds and pesticides of their choice which will help them produce quality cotton.
“The national target is to see cotton yields increased from the current 600 to 800 kilogrammes per hectare to over 1,000kg per hectare,” he said.
Cotton Development Trust chairman, Patrick Khembo, said earlier the bill has a lot to offer to the industry and the economy at large.
“The bill will create an enabling environment for cotton industry growth,” said Khembo, adding: “The cotton council will allow farmers to access farm inputs and find markets easily.”
Minister of Agriculture and Food Security, Peter Mwanza told Parliament during the presentation of the bill that the legislation was one measure government was implementing to help boost the foreign exchange earnings for the country.
He said the Act will help government to address the irregularities that surrounded the cotton industry in the country.
“The Cotton Council will have a Cotton Development Fund which will finance training activities and extension services for the farmers,” said Mwanza