You are here:Home>National Assembly Hansard>Vol. 38>NATIONAL ASSEMBLY HANSARD - 19 JUNE 2012 VOL. 38 NO. 42

NATIONAL ASSEMBLY HANSARD - 19 JUNE 2012 VOL. 38 NO. 42

Tuesday, 19th June, 2012.

The House of Assembly met a Quarter-past two o'clock p.m.

 

PRAYERS

MR. SPEAKER (in the Chair)

MOTION

BUSINESS OF THE HOUSE

THE MINISTER OF TOURISM AND HOSPITALITY INDUSTRY: I move that Orders of the Day, Numbers 1 to 5 be stood over until the rest of the Orders of the Day, have been disposed of.

Motion put and agreed to.

MOTION

PRICE OF COTTON

MR. BHASIKITI-CHUMA: I move the motion standing in my name that this House;

Noting that Cotton farming is labour intensive, expensive, and requires expertise on the part of the farmers.

Concerned that cotton traders buy the cotton at uncompetitive prices thereby ripping off farmers, considering the effort and amounts they spend to harvest a good crop.

Now therefore , calls upon the Government to intervene by determining the cotton price so that cotton farmers can benefit from the Land Reform.

MS. MANGAMI: I second.

MR. BHASIKITI -CHUMA: Thank you Mr Speaker, in giving light to my motion. I would like to begin by helping members to understand the Cotton Industry from production stage to marketing so that they have an appreciation of the debate at hand. Growing of cotton is labour intensive. I will give an example of a farmer who chooses to plant cotton on 1 hectare area; he will need 15 kg of seed which costs $27. 00. He will need about two to three 50 bags of fertilizer, each costing $33.00. So the cost the farmer puts to the ground in terms of fertiliser on 1 hectare - the compound L is $99.00. From there the farmer will need again to apply Ammonium Nitrate; it will cost him again the same amount of $99.00.

Cotton crop can easily be affected by a lot of aphids and some insects; so he has to buy insecticide and do a minimum of 3 to 4 rounds of spray of insecticide, which costs him not less than $30.00.

MR. SPEAKER: Order, Hon. Minister Mzembi, you cannot do your forms in the House.

MR. BHASIKITI-CHUMA: You will also need labour to weed the cotton; to remove the weeds 3 to 4 times; per 1 hectare you will need about $75.00 to complete the cycle, the first cycle $25.00, another $25.00 and another $25.00 - $75.00, doing weeding. So Mr. Speaker, the cost of producing cotton per hectare comes in two forms in drier areas like the Lowveld where you apply perhaps two bags of fertilizer. The total cost of production will be US$264 on 1 hectare. In good rainfall areas where you apply three bags of fertilizer, the total cost of production will be US$427 on 1 hectare. The situation we are faced with is that cotton prices, as we speak, have gone down. Before I go to the price of cotton, hon. members need to know how many kilogrammes a farmer realises from 1 hectare. In the dry areas like the Lowveld where there is less rainfall, the farmer may realize two or three bales of cotton; a bale of cotton is about 200kgs. In good rainfall areas, the farmer may realize five to six bales of cotton, so you say 6 x 200kgs to get the total kilogrammes the farmer gets.

Last year, cotton was bought at a minimum price of 85c to US$1.10. At that price, the farmer was realizing a bit of profit. Currently, we are faced with the fall of the price of cotton internationally. Cotton price is determined at the international market. What this means is that those countries which buy cotton in bulk and process the cotton to the final product determine the price of which they buy the cotton. This is known as the Liverpool Index. In simpler terms, these giant manufacturing firms in Britain, USA, China, India - assuming they would have bought enough cotton the previous year, the following year, they will put a low price because the demand of cotton is low. It is from that scenario that the farmer will bear the brunt of the cost of production.

I have given you an example of a 1 ha, where a farmer gets two to three bales. Putting it at a maximum of three bales in dry areas, the farmer will realize a total amount of US$180, this year, if he sells the cotton at 30c per kilogramme as is being offered by the merchants. Buying the cotton at 30C and realising US$80, it means the farmer is left with a debt of US$140 this year. The farmer does not make a profit but he is in debt. What it also means is that the farmer will not plant cotton this year. The cotton industry is grinding to a halt if there is no intervention because the farmers will, from this year, stop growing the crop. I do not think that is the best thing that we want for our country.

One other important factor Mr. Speaker, which tends to reduce the yield of our farmers is the way we grow cotton. In Zimbabwe, we have refused to have genetically modified crop production. In countries like China, India, USA and many other countries that grow cotton, they use genetically modified seed. On a 1 hectare area where a farmer in Zimbabwe gets three bales or six bales, the same hectarage will give a farmer in India 36 bales, 6 times. So even if the price goes down, the farmer will still realize profit from the number of bales they would have produced.

Mr. Speaker, we need to help the farmer with the best methods of maximizing yields in the production of cotton. This is not happening in our country in terms of assisting our farmers. There is no need to over emphasise that market prices for this type of crop is internationally determined. On the international market, the GMO is the best farming method adopted by other countries. So remaining behind and insisting that we shall not be using the GMO method to enhance or assist our farmers to produce more is doing a disservice to our farmers, the nation and the industry as a whole. I think that our Government should take a radical position and make sure they institute this GMO production method within the cotton industry. As we speak, the clothes that we are putting on are largely from the GMO cotton produced abroad, which is then imported back home as garments. So we are deceiving ourselves by saying that we do not want GMO when we are daily seen putting on GMO clothes. Let us be realistic and assist our farmers.

Mr. Speaker, another challenge with regards to cotton production is that our merchants, those who buy and assist farmers to grow cotton, give farmers very little support in terms of inputs to grow the crop but at the end of the day, they determine the price. The farmer does not determine the price. Yes, we understand the plight of the merchants - our strong supporter of this industry like COTTCO Zimbabwe, is doing a lot in supporting farmers. I think it should be the leading company in Zimbabwe. COTTCO is the leading company supporting the cotton industry in this country. We bear with them that they only buy the cotton, separate the seed from the lint, take the lint and sell it at lint stage.

It is unfortunate because they were supposed to further process the lint to yarn. After processing it to yarn, they go further to make garments. If they were selling garments, they will not be even talking about the international price in terms of buying their cotton. This is the area where we say Government should also assist these companies which are eager to see the industry thrive by assisting them get funding in order to process cotton to the final stage of garments.

I have seen one company which is called Sino Zimbabwe. They have established a big factory along the Mbudzi - Chitungwiza road. I went there to see for myself, they are processing cotton from the lint to yarn and when they sell yarn, their export value for selling yarn is US$3,70 per kilogram. They say if they process it further to garments, they will add another $10.00 value to it. It is my plea that Government should try and make it mandatory that the cotton merchants should process cotton to garment level before they sell it. This will benefit both the merchants and the farmer but that will happen in the future. What we are presented with at the moment is a crisis where farmers all over the cotton farming areas are holding on to their bales, they are holding on to their cotton crop as we speak. They anticipate there should be a price which will allow them to go back to the field.

Mr. Speaker, in this motion I am not advocating for price controls, but I am urging Government to intervene and assist the farmer, particularly this year. Realising that most of these farmers could not pay school fees for their children and some of their children who were supposed to write Ordinary and Advanced Levels but failed to pay examination fees and they cannot write this year. Therefore, it is incumbent upon Government when its people are in a serious economic depression like this, that Government should subsidise and try to institute measures so that the farmer does not bear all these costs and remain in debt.

Mr. Speaker, this is possible. Government can intervene in many ways. It can ask the same merchants, last year they made good profit out of the farmer's crop. They were buying the farmer's crop at the lowest grade which is called Grade D but the merchants pretend there are different prices to cotton with regard to different grades. This year they have said Grade A will be bought at 50c, Grade B 48c, Grade C 44c, Grade D 30c or 25c. So, you can see the mischief here. If they can afford to say we can pay 50c for a certain grade which they are not going to give to the farmer, Government should come in and say since last year, you did not grade the farmer's cotton, this year you should buy it at 50c you have proposed. This is because they have realised that from 50c, they can still make profit. Therefore why not give farmers the benefit this year and give them 50c if that could be the basic minimum they worked out to see their profit margin.

We are saying Government should not sit back and leave the farmer to be shortchanged by the merchants. When I say Government should intervene, I am not saying Government should take over and do like they are doing in the GMB, buying of maize. We know that Government has no such money. As a result, Government cannot pretend to say we can take over the cotton industry. That will mean demise on that industry, we love that industry and we want it to go on. What we want Government to do is to be an arbitrator this year because there is a crisis. The following year we may educate our farmers on best farming practice and introduce perhaps the GMO, so that the farmers can increase their yield. This year the crop has already been harvested and the loss is in the hands of the farmers.

We cannot allow our farmers to be reaped off when Government can do something. Government can also urge the merchants to write off the debt for the inputs they gave to farmers; that is possible. The merchants can still realise their profits. If the merchants can take the same crop this year and keep it and process it to garments, I am telling you the merchant will realize 100% margin of profit. What I am saying is that the merchant is not a loser in any way, but Government should also assist those merchants who have no full capacity like COTTCO. For the Sino Zimbabwe, I think all they need, when I discussed with them, is a 20 ha area. Mr. Speaker, Sino Zimbabwe only wants 20 hactare area to put their machinery, to process their yarn into garments. This can be done within this period or time limit and allow the farmers' cotton to be processed to garments and then this will give a win-win situation. We want a win-win scenario to both the merchant and the farmer and this is possible but we have to engage and put our brains together.

Mr. Speaker, there is also an argument from the farmers that while the merchants are only referring to the international index for the fall of the price in cotton, they are silent about the oil which they extract and the cattle cake from seed cotton which they sell for profit. So, it is not absolutely correct for the merchants to keep on referring to the falling of prices of cotton at the international market when they make good profit out of the seed in cooking oil and cakes. Mr. Speaker, I have already indicated that if we do not intervene in the cotton production in Zimbabwe, we will definitely be destroying the cotton industry.

One important factor is to capacitate the merchants because there is no way they can generate a good price, if on the international market, the lint is down. One unfortunate situation in Zimbabwe is that the cotton marketing season begins in January because of different climatic conditions from North Africa, the Asian countries, USA, India, China and other cotton growing countries. They start selling in January when our plant is at its early stage. What this means is that they start selling at a better prices and flood the market and by the time we harvest our cotton in April and May and begin to sell, our cotton has no taker. The price will have fallen just like is the case now. Unfortunately, we cannot change these climatic conditions. When we realised a higher cotton price last year, it was because in some of these countries, there was a disaster where the floods destroyed the cotton and there was no harvest but we cannot be praying to God to destroy other nationals' crops so that our farmers can benefit. Let us capacitate our merchants so that they can process to the final level where we sell the garments.

Mr. Speaker, I want to urge our Government once again - I am happy Mr. Made was here when I introduced this motion. The nation is looking at the Hon. Minister Made today with hope and expectation that he will not let them down, but they also know that Government has no money but has power to arbitrate. It is that power and leverage that our people are waiting for, but now help is delaying in coming because the merchants are going overnight urging farmers to bring the cotton and telling them that there is a deadlock between them and Government and no better prices is forthcoming, so just sell us your cotton before you lose everything. I think that kind of negotiation strategies are in bad taste and this cannot be taken lightly. So, Mr. Speaker, I think I have made my case and the case of the farmers that they now remain at the mercy of our good Government to make the right decision, to come up with a win-win solution for our farmers and the nation.

Mr. Speaker, I now therefore move for the consideration of the facts I have put before the House that Government should intervene and assist our farmers. It is my anticipation that the members will debate this motion today and at the end of the day I am going to wind it up and ask members to adopt the motion so that there is quick implementation of this resolution or motion by this House. I thank you Mr. Speaker.

MS. MANGAMI: I want to first of all thank Hon. Bhasikiti for bringing this important motion to the House. Really, cotton farming is now a process that has actually become problematic within our communities because the farmers are no longer sure who is going to buy or whether their cotton is going to be bought, while our Government is looking at it or making resolutions slowly when the cotton is actually losing its value as we speak. I am told one kilogramme of raw cotton produces 42% of cotton lint and the 58% remains with the cotton merchants. So, I believe that even if the prices fall on the world market, our cotton ginners can also add value using the 58% that remains for the farmer to benefit. Definitely there is a lot of labour in growing cotton and if that happens, the ginners should be prepared to share the loss or profit.

We also have what we call free farmers. These free farmers should be allowed to sell to whoever wants to buy their cotton and the regulatory authority should not have anything to do with these free farmers. I will give for example, the President gave inputs to farmers and so, anybody should be allowed to purchase that cotton. The previous year, these cotton ginneries, the merchants, they only collected cotton for their inputs and then it is said they have met their targets and some of the farmers, up to now, have got last year's cotton which has not been bought, so it is important that these farmers who have cotton for last year sell it now or else it may not be necessary for them to continue growing when the cotton is not being sold. The other thing is they accuse these farmers of side marketing then one would wonder who these other buyers are. If one company gives inputs to a particular farmer the other merchant will come at night and purchase cotton that has been given inputs by another company. It is not the farmer who is cheating, they are the ones cheating not the farmers.

It is important that these cotton merchants be honest so that they do not cheat each other. On registration, you need to register to sell your cotton, the fees that are involved must be very little and where I come from they give farmers inputs very late such that the farmers do not harvest on time and at the end of the day they will require payment for such input. We are appealing to Government that they look into this issue and protect farmers. In fact, if the Government did that on maize as our staple food why cannot they do that on cotton too so that anybody can be a player and this will encourage competition.

We can also process that cotton here in Zimbabwe since we have the machinery and our farmers can sell to the end user as has been suggested by the mover of this motion that we add value to our cotton for it to fetch competitive world market rate.

In conclusion, may I thank the mover of the motion and suggest that the problem of cotton be solved now so that the people from my constituency benefit before their cotton loses value. Right now, they have employed people to monitor who is selling to who and causing conflict within communities because it is somebody who is employed within a village and people are fighting each other because of that. I thank you.

*MR. MUTSEYAMI: I thank you Mr. Speaker, I want to contribute to the motion moved by Hon. Bhasikiti, in my constituency - Chipinge, they are many cotton farmers. Cotton is one of the cash crops in Chipinge and when considering this issue, we observed that since 1980 to 2006, whenever a bale of cotton will be sold, the amount raised would be able to buy a cow and this enabled farmers to send children to school as well as for their upkeep. At the moment, the amount being realised from cotton selling is said to be US$0.28 cents per kg and a bale of cotton weighs 200kgs, the proceeds cannot even buy anything meaningful or even a goat.

When we look at this issue, we urge the Government to go back to the old days, yes we may quote international prices of cotton and talk of the current prices, but we should have prices that will encourage farmers to keep on growing cotton. Government must come up with a subsidy for cotton farmers. Once the subsidies are in place, cotton can now be purchased at high price, if they should be any loss, it should be borne by Government and not the poor rural farmer. When considering the issue of cotton, we have seen in today's paper that the Government has taken over the purchasing of cotton as a controlled product. As Hon. Made is in this august House, I want to say that last year, cotton was being purchased from US$0.80cents to US$1, this year we are now talking of US$0.28 cents and from US$0.28,there is also the mention of US$0.48 cents, the Government should intervene. We should go back to the price of a US$1 that was used for the purchase of cotton last year. The Government should take up this issue so as to make the lives of ordinary people easy.

A lot of people are remaining with cotton and the same happened last year and this year again, bearing in mind that they have cotton crops for previous years, we are therefore urging the Government to assist these hard working farmers. Still on the issue of cotton, we have people who are buying cotton and at the same time threatening the farmers, these cotton merchants buy cotton and also give loans and inputs like fertilizer, the type of English that they use is complicated and can only be understood by legal practitioners. The Government should protect these farmers from unscrupulous cotton buyers.

The Government must urge growing of cotton because a lot of people make a living from that. We should not have a situation where our cotton farmers' lives should be destroyed because in the near future, we might end up having no cotton farmers in Zimbabwe. It is our wish that cotton should continually be grown in Zimbabwe. When looking back a few years ago, our textile industry was disturbed but we believe that things will improve, so we urge cotton farmers to keep growing cotton so that the people can benefit from such farming activities because a lot of people make their livelihoods through cotton growing. We should not have a situation where our cotton farmers' livelihood is destroyed because in the near future, we might end up having no cotton farmers in Zimbabwe. It is our wish that cotton should continually be grown in Zimbabwe. Looking back a few years ago, our textile industry was disturbed but we believe that things are going to be well and the industry is going to thrive. We urge cotton farmers to keep on growing the cotton so that people of Zimbabwe can benefit from cotton farming activities.

As we discuss the nitty-gritties of the price for cotton, we should come up with a price worthy for this year's produce.

+MR. P. N. SIBANDA: I thank you Mr. Speaker, for giving me this opportunity to talk about cotton. In my constituency, which is Binga North, I have 15 wards and they are all cotton growers hoping to raise funds to send their children to school. I have recommendations I would like to give to this House and my prayer is that this motion be passed today. We also have bales of cotton which were left from last year. What I am saying here Hon. Speaker is that the participation of farmers in as far as prices are concerned is that farmers should also be involved. They should be involved from the planting stage. They should know how much they are going to spend on buying bales and how much will be spend on farmers. Currently, there is this price of US$0,30c, which is not acceptable to farmers.

The mover of this motion pointed out that farmers will suffer a loss. They want to send their children to school and we also want our industries to start operating. So, all these things that are being done outside the country should be done here in Zimbabwe. We must not depend on people from outside. Let us take for example Mozambique. They grow cotton in order to raise funds, but here we grow cotton in order to send our children to school and buy properties such as wardrobes and other things. I want the Government to intervene. Minister Made was voted in by the people. We want President Robert Mugabe, Hon. Tsvangirayi and Hon. Mutambara to be involved and even Hon. Made was elected by the people, the farmers.

Today we want hon. members to debate this issue and finish it today. People are expecting elections and we want them to vote us in. We do not want COTTCO to give us an instruction that we should not sell. COTTCO is a parastatal and they should let anyone sell his or her crop anywhere, be it to people from China or wherever. We are expecting US$0,85c or more. Last year they were buying cotton at US$0,80c and people could buy.

I would also want to talk about TMTC. This does not represent farmers. They are people who were placed there to say whatever they want. They were not chosen by the farmers. What we want is that farmers should be involved, not other individuals who are not representing people. Members of Parliament please let us debate and wind up this issue today.

The grading of cotton into Grades A, B, C and D and pricing is another issue. This should be done at buying points not to be done by the ginners. Each farmer should know whether there is electricity or not and should know whether his/her bale is A or B and should have a rough idea of how much he will get from his cotton. Private buyers should also be involved. They should not be stopped. We want all of them to be involved. If there is a person who is offering a $1, we want that person. We want money; we want to send our children to school. We want to send them to school so that they attain their own degrees and also networking in the region, be it South Africa, Mozambique and others. We should bring all those people together, so that we have a common price and have our own industries.

Lastly, I would like to say Ministers and the President came from the people and so, the Government should also intervene so that people will get reasonable prices. Thank you Mr. Speaker.

*MR. MAZIKANA: Thank you Mr. Speaker, first and foremost, I thank the mover and the seconder of this motion. Mr. Speaker Sir, this motion touches on our lives. It gets into our livelihoods. Hon. members, I am from Mbire constituency. We grow cotton as our cash crop. I went to school using funds from cotton sales and I also paid lobola through cotton growing activities. I also want to remind hon. members in this House to give this motion a serious thought because it affects our lives. It affects the livelihoods of people in Zimbabwe and the world over.

I would want to give an example Mr. Speaker Sir, our under-garments as men are made of cotton. Women also use cotton, in the hospitals we use cotton and I want to briefly say 500g of cotton wool in the shop, find out how much they cost. This is just half a kilogram of cotton wool. You cannot buy it for $0,30c or US$0,60c or even a dollar for that matter. It is a dollar and fifty cents. The same cotton which I grow in Mbire which was processed by a cotton merchant and put in the shop now costs US$0,30c which is the cost of three bubble gums in the OK Shop. Honestly, we are in a country which has 200 000 farmers who grow cotton, making it their livelihood, and we do not want to see these people's livelihoods being destroyed. In the near future we might end up having no cotton farmers in Zimbabwe. Looking back a few years ago, our textile industries were destroyed and we expect that in the near future the industry is going to thrive. We urge cotton farmers to continue growing cotton so that the people of Zimbabwe will continue to benefit from such cotton farming activities.

As we discuss the nitty-gritties of the price for cotton, we must come up with a US$1, 00 worth of this year's produce that supports two million individual citizens of Zimbabwe. Hon. members as politicians go to a rally where the members of the grassroots are gathered and these would be cotton farmers and you tell them to go and sell their cotton for 30 cents. Imagine the response that you will get from these people who are going to get $60 from 200 kilograms. If I have 6 or 10 bales getting an average of $600, the buyers of this cotton will then deduct for the inputs for the pesticides, which they raised to 100 percent from the crop's last year's previous price. They are reaping the farmer and this is not an expectation of the Zimbabwean farmer. A farmer who delivered 100 kilograms of tobacco smiles all the way to the bank for A grade of tobacco because they are getting $600, while 200 kilograms of cotton gives him $60. We are living in a country where there is a discord.

We accept that the international price has gone down but we have two million individual Zimbabweans who are benefiting from the cotton crop. Honourable members, whether you come from a cotton growing region or not, it is imperative that we should speak with one voice and raise the livelihood of Zimbabwean farmers. They are not asking to be beggers. Cotton farmers are hard workers; they want to be given what is due to them for the hard work that they put when they grew cotton. As members, we have to, from time to time, give our Government our grievances. These are the same grievances that are being raised by farmers from Binga, Rushinga and Mudzi. This is what they want for an honest hard work. Shall we go back with $600 per year? Will this be able to sustain our farmers? When shall we see this kind of practice end? We know and we have been teaching our farmers that it is important that our cotton should be grown. We want to even improve on our yield. We want to target 3 thousand kilograms per hactre as they do in India and in the USA. In USA, the USA government tells the cotton farmer - [HON. MEMBERS: Inaudible interjections] - you go to the internet …

MR. SPEAKER: Order, order in the House. Hon. Mazikana, do not pay attention to other members, just concentrate on the debate.

MR. MAZIKANA: Thank you Mr. Speaker Sir. In the USA, they tell the cotton farmer to grow cotton and pay $1.50 per kilogram. When that cotton is grown, it is exported to China, whether China is buying at 30 cents or 50 cents, the USA farmer is given his $1.50 per kilogram. Yes, we do not have such capacity to reach those levels, but we have gurus in the cotton industry. We have a guru in this House, Hon. Sylvester Nguni. He is a guru, he is a giant, we want him to assist us with information. We want him to enlighten us with information so that we go to cotton farmers and inform them. They will also know about what is prevailing in the international market because we export 95 percent of cotton, 5 percent lint is retained in Zimbabwe. That is what caused Glendale Spinners, Contextiles and David White Head to be there.

We should not forget that sanctions also have a hand in this. The shirt that you are wearing might be valued at $60 but a bale of cotton nets $60. Hon. Minister of Agriculture, let us give hope to our cotton farmers in our communal lands. Let us bring joy to our farmers in our communal lands, this is our livelihood.

Before I resume my seat, Hon. Minister, the calculations that we did in Mbire give us a break-even price of 66 cents per kilogram, if you give us 45 cents per kilogram, I strongly urge your office to come to the cotton farming regions and explain to farmers that this is the amount they will receive. We will not accept 45 cents per kilogram Minister. We are anticipating a dollar per kilogram for cotton. Those cotton companies like Cargil, Alam, COTTCO, please Minister tell them there is no going back on that issue. 45 cents is unacceptable. If you had to say that, you will have chocked us and we will be unable to breathe and we will stop cotton farming. As a result, we will end up being beggers. We will then say we can no longer grow cotton, we now need social welfare assistance on a monthly basis. Minister, before I sit down, I would want to take this opportunity

MR. SPEAKER: Order, Hon. Mazikana. Address the Chair not the Minister.

MR. MAZIKANA: I am very emotional. It is our lifeline, if it is chocked, I will not breathe. I strongly urge that we have certain regions, on a light note, in Zimbabwe where there is no vegetation because of the drought. We have certain areas in Mashonaland Central where there is a lot of grass, we urge the Minister that regions like Matabeleland and Chiredzi, if they do not have grass we can look after your cattle. Yes, you can bring your cattle and we look after them until the rain season. I thank you. -[HON. MEMBERS: Inaudible interjections]-

MR. SPEAKER: Order, order.

MS. KHUMALO: Thank you Mr. Speaker Sir. I would like to thank the mover of this motion on the issue of cotton, but I am going to pick up the issue of cotton from the position of women. As women in this country, we are challenged by the availability of sanitary towels and those sanitary towels Mr. Speaker Sir, are from cotton.

MR. SPEAKER: Order, Hon. Minister, you cannot use your phone in the august House.

MS. KHUMALO: Now if we have a challenge on the cotton and the pricing that the farmers are getting are not good prices, what it then means is that us as women, we are being denied our hygienic right to use our sanitary hygienic towels.

What we know Mr. Speaker Sir, as women, is that farmers are supposed to go and grow cotton. It has to meet our needs and limits. We are all aware that in 1999-2009, as women of this country, we were denied our dignity to use hygienic sanitary wear. We were forced to use unhygienic means mainly, newspapers and pieces of cloth.

Mr. Speaker Sir, the issue of cotton prices can never be over-emphasised. What is important is to let the farmers get their proper prices so that as women, we then get our hygienic sanitary towels. Our request as women is that subsidise the farmers around growing cotton and the need to also subsidise sanitary wear and to resolve the issue of prices because for us being women, every month we menstruate without control. Unfortunately, there is no way that we can control nature. For our demands as women on the issue of cotton, let it be resolved like yesterday because every month we are entitled to meet our biological means as women. No one has the right to take away our dignity because we are fighting over an issue that we pity our dignity as women.

You undignify a woman, you undignify a farmer. We are not going to go back to 1999 when we were using newspapers. The issue of what is happening to farming, as women, we do not want to hear that. What we want to hear is to walk in the shop and to be able, with my dollar, to buy pads at the end of the month. The cotton that you are talking about that was grown last year and has not yet been sold, Mr. Speaker, I repeat. We have no remote control to control nature as women when it comes to menstruating. That cotton that is lying idle there, instead of it being processed, when I come to this august House then I walk in holding my behind because I have used the wrong wear, that is unacceptable and that is the greatest challenge Mr. Speaker Sir.

MR. SPEAKER: Hon. member, that is unparliamentary, can you withdraw?

MS. T. KHUMALO: I withdraw Mr. Speaker Sir. We refuse to go back to the situation which we were once in, where the girl child was forced to use the cotton that was stuffed in mattresses as sanitary. Mr. Speaker Sir, the moment we teach our future leaders that being a woman is a curse in this country because they do not hold the hygienic means to protect them so that they can be educated like the boy child, then we have a problem. Mr. Speaker Sir, I once again demand that the issue of the cotton prices must be a case that must be resolved like yesterday and once again, whilst we are still resolving it and if we are failing to resolve it, we are demanding as women that with immediate effect, every single sanitary towel that is sold in this country must be subsidised by the State. I thank you Mr. Speaker.

*MR. MATONGA: Thank you Mr. Speaker, I would want to thank Hon. Bhasikiti, the mover of the motion. What I have realised Mr. Speaker is that the cotton issue is of national interest. It is a non-political issue. This is as a result of the debate that I see in this House that both sides of the House are in agreement that we have a problem with the cotton issue. The problem is that farmers want good prices for their cotton. So, in that case Mr. Speaker Sir, if the Minister of Finance were here, that is where our solution lies that cotton should be purchased. We want the farmers to be given good prices. It is a duty that the Minister of Finance can be empowered by Cabinet so that he can subsidise farmers for their livelihood. If there is no money, we are wasting our time and nothing will come to fruition.

The Minister of Science and Technology has just gone out, there is such technology to come up with better ways to come up with better crop. What we should be discussing is how best can we help the Minister of Finance to look for funding because this is an issue of national interest. As I speak Mr. Speaker, the cotton that we grow per year amounts to plus or minus 330 tonnes and the cotton that has been sold so far is less than 10%. So, the majority with the 90% which has been sold, what are they living on, because this is their livelihood because by selling the cotton, it does not end there. We have feeder industries such as David Whitehead, Julie White; these were supporting the cotton industry. This is where we need to put our heads together. This is where we need our unity.

As long as we have no money, we are wasting our time. As long as we do not have ways to raise this farming, nothing will come to the aid of the farmers. Even the grading of this cotton Mr. Speaker, it does not make sense. There should be a complete scrapping off of this cotton grading or simply we should have grade A or grade B. The moment we have grade A up to D or whatever, that is detrimental to the farmer. I urge the minister to scrap the grading or come up with two grades.

There should be a control mechanism or even a subsidy and that subsidy should be in the form of money. It should not be in the form of inputs because that does amount to much. It is the duty of the Minister of Finance to come up with viable interest rates so that we can sustain a whole industry because if there is a subsidy or control without the money, it amounts to nothing. We either need price control or a subsidy, but once this price control has been put in place, Government should provide the funding to buy or they can buy it and hold it on behalf of the farmers. For it to wait for China, because it is one of the biggest world buyer of cotton, we should not just place all our eggs in one basket of the Chinese. We should come up with means and ways to support our buying stream industries. That is the solution I perceive to be viable.

In conclusion, I would want to say that the current law, the legislation is not protecting the farmer.

The Government should either buy from a single buyer and those who are owed are paid what they would have advanced the farmers because they are also in business. Mr. Speaker, I think there is an agreement across the political divide and we are in agreement that the famer should be given reasonable money for their crop so that can make a livelihood I thank you.

*MRS. ZINYEMBA: Thank you Mr. Speaker Sir, the motion before the House shows importance of the Cotton Industry which helps the livelihood of everyone. If you look at people who heckle and you are people's representatives, you are doing them a disservice. What I want to say in this House which is of paramount importance is that cotton farmers are not growing cotton by choice. People in region 5 were resettled in region 5 not by choice. They found themselves in those unwanted regions where they cannot live on anything else. As has been mentioned by many, we need to raise money for them to be able to pay for what they need. In this august House, if we are not able to see that these cotton farmers did not commit any crime, they did not put themselves by finding themselves in Muzarabani, finding themselves in Chisumbanje and then we joke around their livelihood because we are sitting pretty and you say what does not affect you does not hurt. By the same token, I would want to say a speaker place yourself in the shoes of a farmer in Chiredzi who does not have any other alternative crop to grow; than cotton and there would not be any consideration about what they realise.

You see the opportunistic ginners come in and buy the end product which has been processed by these farmers. Cotton farming is labour intensive -the buds get into flower during winter and the moment children and women are busy tendering the cotton for a plate of food and you are in here comfortably seated in Parliament where there are heaters and you waste this opportunity as leaders to do something for the farmers, so that our people who find themselves in these unfortunate circumstances, can have livelihood. These were the prevailing circumstances then, as the Legislature, the Government, we should ensure that they also have a normal life just like ourselves who are in the better regions of the country.

I say that if the minimum price should be 85c; those who are not willing to buy should not buy, but eventually we are going to have problems because all of us here require cotton products, bandages, we require them; our children of today are no longer making napkins out of nylons. All children who are born; even pampers are made of cotton - so there is no napkin that you will find that do not have cotton as part of its product just like maize as our staple food. One cannot sustain life on rice alone; it happened during the war but there was a wide outcry that people needed their staple sadza.

Tobacco is said to be hazardous to health but it is being purchased at high price but we can have cooking oil from oil seed. As Legislatures, let us put our heads together so that we have a heart and know that the cotton farmer have to survive; and they should survive as much as we also want to survive. They find themselves in those circumstances; in Chiweshe where I come from, people were forced off the fertile land and they were resettled in Gokwe. They were forced to go to Gokwe. So really, we should not play with other people's lives and make this child's play. Thank you Mr. Speaker.

*MR. DUMBU: Thank you Mr. Speaker for affording me the opportunity to speak on this motion which was raised by Hon. Bhasikiti. This is an important motion. It touches on the livelihood of the people. The cotton crop, as I understand, is a cash crop and it helps the livelihood of people in communal lands. They grow cotton as their cash crop to buy clothes among other things for their families from the proceeds of the sale. Mr Speaker, it is a product that is very labour intensive because the farmer and his family start by tilling the land; they labour for the crop without rest. They till numerous hectares with their children. The cotton crop requires intensive care. Once there are weeds, they affect the yield, so the farmer has to weed several times. The crop requires some insecticides and the cotton require spraying of insecticides in a scheduled period. When the crop is now ripe; it is then picked and at the same time others will be packing it into bales, up until the whole crop has been harvested. Thereafter, the farmer will not rest. He will then go to each plant on the whole hectarage and cut it off and then burn it. By the time he finishes, it will be in September. The rain will start falling and the farmer starts planting the crop once again.

The problem we have in Zimbabwe is we do not adequately value our labour. We only look at the price pegged without taking into consideration what one will have done until the crop reaches its final ripping stage. The Government then did not do any justice to cotton farmers since 1980. In Zaka West, some farmers left Zaka West and went to Chiredzi North, although they maintained their communal homes and they still grow cotton in that area. Today's Government and the Government of tomorrow see itself considering and valuing labour. We seem to have believed that our labour is cheap labour and it is now inborn. Whenever we talk of paying for labour, we believe it should be cheap at times with zero value but we should have looked into this as cotton is grown in the communal lands. We know that there were extension workers before. They are still there today but look at the difference between the extension workers of today and of the previous years. Extension workers used to gather people and teach them how to grow crops. They would even advise the farmers the best way to plant a particular crop. They would advise farmers which crop to grow which would fetch a good price. I remember in 1983, my mother came back from a Master farmers' meeting and she told us that they had been urged to grow sunflower instead of cotton because sunflower was fetching a high price at the market. As a result, we grew sunflower and we got our school fees from the proceeds of sunflower. Those who grew cotton that time made a loss. This went on for some time until eventually there was no advice from extension officers. The work of extension officers has now been taken by politicians to the extent that a chairman of a district or a province will go to Zaka and tell people what to grow. I even heard the President at one rally, saying that farmers should grow sorghum. I know the President has degrees but he does not have one in agriculture. That work should be left to extension officers so that they can educate the people more appropriately.

Mr. Speaker Sir, I will talk about another issue of the mistake that was made in the history of the marketing of cotton in Zimbabwe which is giving us problems today. In the past, farmers would grow cotton and take it to the Cotton Marketing Board but now they were told that there was a new order. The Cotton Marketing Board was then transformed to become the Cotton Company of Zimbabwe. Thereafter, we saw senior Government officials buying COTTCO shares. These people have been benefitting from buying cheap cotton. This is what was at the back of the mind of the people who engineered that there be cotton buyers. They were building up an empowerment base for themselves so that they would buy cotton while others will do other things but these are the same people who had shares at COTTCO and various cotton-buying companies. They are the ones who gave their money to cotton buyers so that they can buy cotton. They have been buying cotton at a cheap price and today we now have this coincidence that the world market price has gone down. They now want to take advantage of the fact that there is now a real problem and they now want to say this is a world order. The fall of the price of cotton internationally has not always been there. Farmers were being repeatedly frustrated. Cotton was being bought for next to nothing up until now. The same thing still prevails but now because today the cotton price has gone down.

Mr. Speaker, I support what Hon. Mazikana has said in a remarkable way when he urged Parliament that we should urge our Government to copy the Government of America. I was surprised. It is a good idea Hon. Mazikana. As Parliament, we should look into the issue of the cotton price. Whilst we are also looking at the price, we should also look at the cotton buyers. They come to the communal lands to buy cotton. They buy it at a very low price. They take the cotton and deliver it to the cotton processors at a higher price. There is what is called corporate social responsibility. Cotton buyers must also consider upgrading rural roads or even coming up with a simple gravel road for them to access the cotton. They are doing nothing about these roads and councils are having problems in maintaining the roads that are being damaged by heavy duty trucks that will be carrying cotton. It is unfair, if it were possible, we should be having a situation where cotton buyers pay for corporate social responsibility. There should be tollgates in cotton growing areas. There should be a toll fee for heavy duty trucks which toll fee would be used by the rural councils to repair roads.

Mr. Speaker, I urge that if possible, we should protect the few cotton processing companies that are still there. We should have a situation where there will be further processing of cotton locally. Cotton should not be sold as a raw material. We have downstream industries that benefit from cotton. If possible, these companies should be protected by Zimbabwean legislation so that such companies will not be taken over by vultures that are bent on destroying these industries, because it is those companies that make cotton products available in Zimbabwe.

In conclusion, I urge that as Parliament of Zimbabwe that we put our heads together regardless of our political affiliation. Let us be united as parliamentarians in support of the Finance Minister, so that the Minister of Finance, Hon. Biti is given money from diamonds by the Minister of Mines, Hon. Mpofu, to facilitate payment of cotton farmers. I thank you Mr. Speaker.

MR. MUZA: Thank you Mr. Speaker. I would like to add my voice to this motion brought by Hon. Bhasikiti. It is true that as a nation we are facing a crisis in the agricultural sector. Why I call this a crisis, it is because the sector of our population which is affected are the desperately poor, the rural folk who have no other means of survival and they look up to Government to resolve their challenges. Here when I am saying Government, I am referring to three key ministries in our Government which is the Ministry of Industry mandated with the responsibility to safeguard the textile industry, led by Prof. Ncube, the Ministry of Agriculture which is led by Hon. Made which is mandated to discharge to expectation to ensure the farmers who are focused on cotton production do their best within the cheapest means possible and thirdly the Ministry of Finance led by Hon. Biti who is mandated to ensure that money supply for all needs of Zimbabwe is guaranteed through credit lines, through internal means of generating revenue or through any other loan facilities. The rest as regards the production process or lines of credit from the farm when we pick the cotton up to the value added products, has been said. As a country, we must examine why we are where we are. The cotton farmers, whilst they do their best under harsh conditions to produce what they would be able to produce determined by the rainfall patterns, they would be hoping that Government will be on their side to organize the industry and to organize the finances, led by three key ministries under an inclusive umbrella which they were mandated to do to make sure the poor farmers will also win. Unfortunately, vultures, as has been aired by previous speakers, will be just waiting for the picking up period when those will now be ready for transportation. Transporters come in with their transport, damaging the remote roads that are not regularly maintained. Those who have money would want to make money on what they would not have invested also come in manipulating the systems to make sure farmers will not get reasonable offers for their cotton.

How do we resolve these problems or challenges which we agree as an august House that we are seized with? I propose that the 3 ministries I have referred to should come up with investment models, where we integrate ginneries with value addition companies that are focusing on by-products arising from ginneries to exploit the farmers without the producer of the cotton benefiting much. If we can manage to make a one stop shop in every cotton producing region, probably we will come up nationally with about 4 or 5. Then we know transport costs will involve moving products from the farm to the centre where the other processes are integrated and the products coming out of that have already been value added to their usable state for distribution. You eliminate all the other unnecessary transport costs where anybody who thinks I can make money because I have got this equipment which the producing company does not have, we manipulate.

The second issue will be reduction of labour costs using the current technological advancement. We can reduce our labour cost from say 100 to about 30 people per plant,using the current set up per plant. When I talk of labour reduction, labour reduction is always expressed as an absolute figure and when we are talking of labour, we are talking of human resources. I am saying the integrated models would reduce labour from 100 for example based on current set up which is a challenge in Zimbabwe at the moment to 30 per plant which is integrated according to modernised set ups. -[HON. MEMBERS: Inaudible interjections]-

MR. SPEAKER: Order! Front bench, order!

MR. MUZA: The financial savings arising from such models would then be shared in between the farmer and the integrated works where the model depending on the agreed model modification which will arise at adoption point and implementation, we can say the farmers who are producing the cotton will also have a stake in the integrated works.

Finally Mr. Speaker, I would like to mention that it is the Government's responsibility that most of the issues we raise here are not immediately resolved. However, we want to urge our Government particularly the three key ministries I have referred to, to come up with a model of going out there, buy all the cotton from the hands of the farmers who have no other means of survival. That cotton will go direct to Government and Government should come up with a model of disposing that cotton when farmers have already received reasonable payment. This will enable farmers to go back and sustain the cotton farming sector of this country for the survival of the agriculture sector particularly the cotton farming sector. Thank you.

MR. F.M. SIBANDA: Thank you Mr. Speaker. Allow me to add my voice to this apolitical motion by Hon. Bhasikiti. I am very happy that this motion is apolitical and is being supported across the political divide. I think it shows maturity of this House that today we are speaking as one voice for the betterment of our peasant farmers. I have a few things that I want to add for record's sake. Farming is a business. If you take farming as a picnic you will regret because it is a business in nature and character.

We need our farmers to be educated on principles of supply and demand. I am saying this because, when supply outstrips demand the commodity loses value and it will be useless. I have studied few industries in this country particularly the commuter services transport. Certain individuals made money when having commuter transport, and you discover everybody who gets $2 000 thinks of a commuter bus. The moment these commuter buses become saturated, there will be no demand hence there will be no income coming home. This principle of supply and demand is critical that our politicians, our agronomists and those people who have done agriculture at highest level, the extension officers in the agriculture industry and those who have gone as far as Dr. Made's qualification should put it as their priority to educate farmers that farming is business. It has to follow the principles of supply and demand.

The issue on why our cotton is becoming valueless is because we have saturated the industry hence the supply outstrips the demand. What happens when we have got too many tomatoes? You would buy 1kg of tomatoes for $1 but when there is scarcity of tomatoes, you would buy one tomato for a $1. So this is a critical matter where our Government and the Ministry of Agriculture should zero in to educate our farmers that farming is business and it has to follow the supply and demand principle.

Secondly, I want to discuss the by-products of cotton, though the value might be minimum, cotton was known as white gold because most of the people who tilled the land depended on cotton and tobacco as their traditional cash crop, but cotton was number one in the 1970s to 1983. The by-products of cotton are as follows: lint, seed, cake, oil and stock feeds in general, so our people are not versatile enough to understand that cotton is not only lint. Lint is valuable than the rest but you will find out that when one sells cotton, there are these by-products; who remains with the seed, the cake, the oil and stock feeds. So, the amount of the price of cotton should take cognisance of the value of the by-product so that the farmer also benefits.

There is also what I would term beneficiation. Yes, we need to do away with raw materials; our gold and other minerals are taken freely because we do not have machinery for beneficiation. My suit here is 100% cotton but it is an export from China or from other countries. We had to export the cotton and then import a ready-made suit like this one which though cheap quality is very expensive. If it was made in Zimbabwe, I would have bought it for a quarter of the price that I bought it from the source. So, you can see the value of that beneficiation, selling raw material is not as valuable as selling things that are already made.

There are companies that are traditionally turning people into what I call slavery in reverse. There are merchants that I would term contract merchants and our people are exploited by this philosophy of contract farming. I was in Gokwe during the outreach programme. Gokwe people are hard working and you would be surprised on approaching those villagers because you would think you are approaching a mountain, ironically it will not be a mountain but heaps and heaps of bales of cotton. However, if you look at the people, they are thin and weak from working hard, tilling the soil, but there are no benefits because of these sharks which are more dangerous than vultures.

They are sharks sucking blood of the living people. The contract farming is diabolic, satanic and should be stopped hence forth because they give you in puts at their own prices and when you reap your cotton, they also determine the price. Hence today you will find that they are saying they are prepared to pay thirty cents. They will be taking cognizance of the inputs that have been given to the farming community without due process. So, an average bale is two hundred kilograms multiplied by thirty cents which comes up to six hundred dollars and that is peanuts.

I think this is very much unacceptable but the solution does not lie with Government alone but with the farmers themselves and the people of Zimbabwe as a whole. We have to rehabilitate the land reform, I am not trying to be sarcastic or provocative, yes we have got land but do we have people who are knowledgeable on these scientific principles of tilling the land. So, there is need to educate, make reforms that are palatable to the nation. I knew Mr. Speaker Sir that when you talk of land rehabilitation, we are not against land redistribution. We are saying we have to put somebody here who should not depend on producing only two bales. Why should we say people are farmers yet they only produce two bales? They should produce a maximum of five bales per hectare if farming is intensive. Our people are however growing large tracts of land and producing only two bales. They are psychologically disturbed when they get peanuts and when they get ill because of hard labour. They have to engage COTTCO, CARGILL, SINO ZIM and TARAFFIN which are some of the cotton merchants who have turned to be sharks because they supply our farmers with cheap inputs and then want to draw more money by paying less.

The other anomaly is arbitrarily attaching of farmers' property. We know some of our people in the farming areas are less educated and they are made to sign very sophisticated contracts. These signed contracts are never left with the farmers but they take both the original and duplicate contracts leaving the farmer with nothing. When the farmer has defaulted because of disaster or because of drought and there is now a tug-of-war where farmers are withdrawing from selling, their properties are arbitrarily attached. This is robbery of the highest order.

They circumvent the courts and the Deputy Sheriff and use constabularies. They pay them $10 and then they have a syndicate which goes door-to-door collecting harrows, scotch-carts and even chickens. I think we need to understand that people in Kadoma, Gokwe, Mt Darwin, Binga, Magunje, Karoi, Bindura, Madziva, Muzarabani, Shamva and many other areas in Zimbabwe are in trouble.

They are waiting anxiously that this Government should intervene logically and not to cause a price control but it should move with the people. They should come together and participate so that whatever they agree on, they also own it than to say the Government should arbitrate price control. We should enhance competition where market forces rule but when the market forces become arbitrary, the Government should come and knock sense so that the povo or peasants are protected by the laws that are progressive.

I want to end by saying we need education throughout the country in the farming sector so that we produce quality cotton. We might be saying we have got cotton but the lint is so different from Egypt. What kind of cotton do we have, do the international people like it? So, what is important is to educate our people to grow cotton that is of a high standard. We should also understand that farming is a business and not a picnic. People should plan.

MR. MUDARIKWA: Thank you Mr. Speaker Sir, firstly I need to highlight that as a nation, we are facing national crisis. People have planted and harvested cotton, the problem we are facing at the present moment is the Ministry of Agriculture created a Statutory Instrument and said they are registered cotton merchants, it is in Statutory Instrument 1142/2009 and SI 63/2011. This list, I will give to the Hansard, these are the people who are buying cotton. This automatically created a monopoly of people who are financing and buying cotton and this is wrong according to the monopolies commission.

If I owe you money, I owe you money and not cotton. This is where our farmers have been short-changed because they say the price of a bag of fertilizer is above the market price. On that same note, I buy the same bag of fertilizer at US$30 the cotton farmer buys the same bag at US$42, that is the starting point where we have problems. This is not acceptable in Zimbabwe because it is legalised theft. We must never allow the same person to be financing, to be buying, being the judge, the deputy sheriff and comes to your house to take your scotch cart and everything, there is break down of rule of law in the cotton industry. Mr. Speaker Sir, we are facing a situation where we have a national disaster, the Ministry of Agriculture came in and then said cotton is now a controlled product.

The Ministry must pay a living price on cotton, it used to happen on maize, farmers used to be paid US$200 a tonne and the same tonne is sold to National Foods at US$50 a tonne, there is nothing new about that. The Ministry has got itself in a mess, they must now pay the price that is agreed upon by the farmers. Last year's price of US$0.80 to US$1 is what the Ministry must pay. They then have to deal with the dealer who finances because you cannot be financing and want my cotton and scotch carts and everything from me.

The mover of the motion, when rounding up his motion must be clear to say we have agreed on this price of US$1 per kg and whoever is owed the cotton is not owed cotton, he is owed money. If I borrow money from you, how then does that money change into cotton, it does not make sense and there is no reasoning behind such a move, this is what is happening and it is unfortunate that we have allowed this sort of thing to happen. These people who are involved into cotton industry are not taking into account certain other things that they buy products of cotton and these prices are affected.

We cannot say because the price of maize has gone down so the price of cotton must go down. It is unacceptable and it is day light robbery and this must not be allowed to continue as it is our duty to represent the poor people out there in the communal lands. We can, at this moment, agree and also ask the Hon. Minister of Agricuture that the other problem we are facing is, we cannot compete on the International Market because we are not GMO. This House has ratified and agreed that we must go GMO, but we are not going GMO. Most of the suits that we are putting on are from China.

Why then should we say that we do not want GMO when we put on GMO daily and the food that we are eating is GMO. Let us be compliant and move forward as a nation. The rates of lending in this country is very very high; they are these money lenders who are charging 40% to 50% per month. What does this translate to at the end of the year. The people who grew cotton this year have not paid their school fees and other expenses. If groundnuts are paying US$0.70 per kg, why is it that cotton buyers do not want to pay better prices? The way forward on cotton is that we need a lot of research and development. We also need to remove unnecessary charges that cotton farmers are facing.

I produce cotton at home and if I buy a bottle of cabriole, if there is EMA road block, they want a moving and storage permit for that bottle of cabriole and because of all these things, the cost of farming in Zimbabwe has gone high because most of our parastatals have turned in to be parasites. We are facing a very unfortunate situation. Up to this time, we still have farmers who have not been paid for the maize they delivered last year.

Mr. Speaker Sir, I want to conclude by saying the august House must recommend that cotton must be bought at a price between US$0.80 and US$1 per kg. This money must be made available to the farmers, it is the farmers now who know who they owe money, if they owe Cargil money, fair enough they pay Cargil, not for Cargil to come and say that now because I want my cotton. It is not your cotton. Did you give birth to the cotton? You have something that is yours yes, not the cotton. So, for record's sake, these are the list of companies. Hansard, you can come and pick up this from me. These are some of the listed companies that are claiming that the cotton in the communal lands is theirs because they financed; Cotton Company of Zimbabwe (COTCCO), CARGILL, OLAM, SINO ZIM, ROMSDAL, ALLIANCE, GRAFAX, PARROGATE, INSING, COTTZIM, VIRIDIS, Southern Cotton, FAHAD AND JINMAC. How can you be making profits on fertilizers, chemicals, on the soya cake, on the lint, on the oil, on the transport and on everything? They have been making profit on diesel. I have a trucking section which runs for one of these companies and for me to get their diesel and move cotton, I pay US$1, 50 a litre and on the open market, the same diesel is going for US$1, 25 per litre.

Comrades and friends, hon. members, we must never use Government departments or parastatals as a means to rip-out business. The reason why there is no growth in the economy of Zimbabwe is that there is an element of just buying and putting 100%. This person buys from me and puts 100% and at the end of the day there is nobody who is manufacturing anything. As a nation, we will go nowhere and as a nation, we need cotton farmers to sustain the national development of our country. Some people were mentioning that cotton is produced in Region 5. Yes it is produced there because there is minimum rainfall and it is those people in Region 5 we must support. How then are they going to survive if we say the cotton (somebody stood up here and said I am prepared to pay US$0,25c per kg) will be sold at that cost? Yes, people may say what they want to say but in my constituency, I say it is better that we become slaves than to be slaves of these cotton merchants. Thank you.

*MR. VARANDENI: Thank you Mr. Speaker, I would like to thank the mover of the motion about cotton prices. It is embarrassing for us to be talking about US$0,29c as the price for cotton per kg compared to the US$85c during the last season. What the Ministry of Agriculture should be looking into is the producer price and the pre-planting price so that the people could be able to plan. This House is unanimous and united in voicing the concerns of the cotton prices because everyone here has people in their constituency or relatives who are into cotton farming where they can borrow money.

Everyone in this House is being hurt by the ridiculous cotton price. We wonder who COTCCO is and who are its shareholders because we may mention the name COTCCO but the issue is on the shareholders. You will recall for the past 4 or 5 years our cotton was being taken without being graded at the place and we were told it will be graded at the ginnery. That meant that in the entire country, cotton was being bought and classified in Grade D but nobody bothered to pay attention to that Minister. We do not succeed because there is no one who looks after our issues. The issue of cotton prices when you go to the communal lands, you will feel pity. No old man is drinking beer or tea for that matter because all the tobacco is piled at the homesteads. A true Zimbabwean Government is failing to come up with a reasonable price for its farmers.

I recall in the old days when our elders would say Kadoma was built because of Cotton. There is also a ginnery in Chiredzi but they are looking for cotton to buy. I knew when I was growing up that if I grew cotton, I would get money unless there would be a drought. I urge the Minister to move into the communal lands and see land that had been prepared for cotton and the cotton that has been produced. People are actually picking up cotton from under the trees and are actually being told that they will get US$0,30c per kg. Who can accept US$50, 00 for a 200kg bale? This hurts. It has hurt the whole country and I want to thank all the farmers for the stance they have taken to withhold their cotton crop. It is a pity that whilst others are going saying if we do not sell the cotton, the police will move around with the companies threatening communal companies to sell their produce. That shows lack of respect for others. We should be united because this is a livelihood for others.

All the lively speakers and those who may fail to debate, this is an important motion and we want the price of cotton to be US$1, 00 per kg and it should not be anything less. I thank you.

MR. RARADZA: I want to thank you Mr. Speaker, for affording me an opportunity to speak on such an important motion. It has shown its importance by members' unanimity in supporting the motion. We should talk about this crop knowing that it has got a risk of being destroyed by fire. We should tackle this problem. People who sold cotton last year, the lowest price was US$0,80c. The so called producers or ginners pegged the price with the implements that they gave at US$0,80c per kg. Now, the price is US$0,25c per kg and they are not reducing their cost for the farmers. That is the first fundamental issue that should be addressed Mr. Speaker Sir. Secondly, as we speak, at the Liverpool Index, cotton has gone up by US$0,02c. The price is going up but they are not taking that into consideration. As an arm of Government we are hurt and what we have to fight against is that as Government, people should be given reasonable prices. The losses that they are talking about are meaningless. The only thing that they say is that they are not buying seed but we have heard about by-products such as cakes, lint and stock feeds. They are not paying for all those by-products to the farmers, Mr. Speaker. What we should do is that farmers should sit down with the Government and speak to the cotton buyers. They should give farmers reasonable prices. That is, if the ginner is going to lose, the farmer should equally lose at a proportional rate and not the ridiculous 41 cents that I have heard. You need 46 cents to produce a kilogram of cotton, so you would already have lost. Furthermore, the interest rates that are being given are not fair. The interest should be 4 percent but we are getting 12 percent going upwards. This should also be looked into by the Government so as to ensure smooth flow of agriculture. Our communal farmers are struggling Mr. Speaker Sir. I was in Muzarabani in the morning, the issue is still the same and people are suffering. I witnessed it and they showed me piles and piles of bales of cotton.

Cotton needs the field to be cleaned throughout, since it is labour intensive. Farmers are offered 22 cents at most. Mr. Speaker Sir, we are killing not only the farmer, but the country as well. If the cotton was to be bought at a reasonable price, Treasury will have reasonable income going through. We should know that we are killing the farmer as well as our country.

I would like to thank the mover of the motion and all those who spoke before me. Today we have shown that we are Zimbabwean people who have the interest of Zimbabwe at heart. We should resolve this issue. We may talk and talk but people are suffering today and we need a solution today so that people can have a bright day tomorrow. I thank you.

*MRS. MATAMISA: Thank you Mr. Speaker Sir. I rise to debate the motion before the House of white gold. I would want to thank especially the mover of this motion and also give my voice and weight by saying cotton is a labour intensive crop from ab initio until the end. The people who grow cotton go through unnecessary hardships. These people need the assistance of this august House so that tomorrow they will look forward to growing cotton and they will be better placed to increase their yield and also realise reasonable profits.

Mr. Speaker Sir, let me say that when I first came to Kadoma, it was known as the City of Gold and the City of White Gold. They used to grow a lot of cotton. As I was passing through Sanyati and Gokwe sometime ago, some crops were being destroyed in the fields before people had harvested because of the cotton price. When the price improved, there was very few cotton that was delivered because it was too dry and the weight was also reduced.

Let me examine what causes problems to Zimbabwe, when we look at the clothes that we are wearing, I do not see anyone wearing clothes that are made from cotton grown in Zimbabwe. Why do we buy clothes made from cotton grown in China? Why are we not having buyers in Zimbabwe when we buy clothes from other countries?

I have seen several reasons Mr. Speaker Sir. The first one is withregards to David White Head which was the core of business in Kadoma. It was the only industry in Kadoma that was looking after 40 to 50 thousand people and there were 4 shifts per day, which is no more. David White Head used to buy cotton from farmers when people started harvesting up until the end of the harvest throughout Zimbabwe. People were being paid reasonable prices and they were satisfied. During that time people did not go back on growing and manufacturing of cotton although there was hyper inflation in using the Zimbabwean dollar. Where did we go wrong? Why are we now mourning about the treatment that is now being given to our farmers in this august House?

The evil of this Mr. Speaker Sir, saying the truth, is that in the life of a farmer, we know that farming is serious business which needs a lot of money. Once they have grown that crop, people advocated that there should be a market survey. As a way forward we need a solution now. Market survey could be done at a later stage.

In 1995, I was in Kadoma, rolls and rolls of clothing were bought and David White Head was working 24 hours a day. They were busy making cloth for ZANU PF which was used in the campaign of ZANU PF. That cloth has not been paid for up to date, which has led to the bankruptcy of David White Head. Rolls and rolls of t-shirt materials were taken for delivery by ZANU PF and were not paid for up to date. That has led to the bankruptcy of David White Head. David White Head was the core for cotton growing farmers. We are talking of Kadoma and Sanyati. So given that scenario, what can we say today? We said it was the Government of the day and they are still in the Government.

They have the links for diamonds, they have the ministry responsible for mines and they should go to the minister. It is good that they have the minister in their party and that they should request the minister to then give any other diamonds that were being diverted elsewhere. They should be given to Hon. Minister Biti's Ministry of Finance, so that Minister Biti can give Hon. Made so that Hon. Made can subsidise the farmers, so that the farmers can continue growing cotton. Hon. T. Khumalo is a lady who has children and grandchildren that need to use whatever things that are needed to be used. Now as a grandmother, I would not be using them. In the maternity, we still have children and even old as you are, you still have children with sweet sixteens. In the maternity wards, we require a lot of cotton wool, hence our advocating that cotton farmers should not stop producing cotton. However, we are saying those responsible for destroying such industries, because any poor cotton farmer would see a scotchcart and would not do that for less, two years for not buying their scotchcart as well as their bicycle for themselves and for their wives. Whenever they buy a wheelbarrow, they will need another wife. Whenever they buy a scotchcart, they will have another wife because men in Gokwe were very rich by that yardstick of the number of women that they have. On average, a farming men would have 5 wives or more. The reason why we say that the men should not have polygamous activities is because the men will not be able to suffice in terms of the upkeep of the family.

Cotton is a labour intensive product and I say that it is important for us to use other machinery or other means. If we were to remove the labour intensive nature of cotton, we will have failed in Zimbabwe. We will have done wrong in Zimbabwe. All I urge and advocate for is to pay the farmer who pick up the cotton. We have low unemployment levels in Zimbabwe. This is how the cotton farmers are helping in reducing the unemployment. Those without are able to contract their labour and if they are paid, they make a living. I have risen Mr. Speaker to support this reasonable motion. Cotton farmers should be given money but we should dispell it very clearly that the money should not come from Minister Biti because he can not create money. He only looks after what has been given then he looks at what has to be given to the various ministries.

When looking at the national cake, we are saying as the issue of the diamonds, we give the issue to the principals to look into the operations of Hon. Minister Mpofu. A lot of our minerals are also being exported to other countries. Inasmuch as our cotton, despite the fact that it is a by-product, the same applies to gold and platinum. If the diamonds are also cut, they make a lot of money out of that. We urge the principals because we are still in the GPA. They should look into this matter as a matter of urgency. We should not give them a lot of time because we want them to understand the plight of the Zimbabwean people.

My constituency is urban based but I have grandparents and

grandmothers. I expect my children to marry and be married in that area. So, if my child is married where cotton is not bought, I can not look after my son's wife whether he is a graduate or not. Government should do something about it. We want a reasonable price of cotton. The cotton should benefit Zimbabweans as the crop that is produced in Zimbabwe. We are tired of wearing second-hand products. Thank you Mr. Speaker.

*MR. NDAVA: I would want to commend Hon. Bhasikiti for the motion on cotton. I also want to thank the persons whose names I am going to mention that live in Chiredzi North. When we saw this motion appearing on the Orders of the day for today, I want to give my voice as previous speakers before me. I would want to agree with the previous speakers that cotton is a labour intensive crop. Even for a single hectare production requires several months preparation of that land but there are things that I need to explain which help our Minister of Agriculture because compared to other crops like tobacco and others, we see that there are Government departments and tobacco industry and marketing board. If you look at the price, they look at the buyers and those that grow tobacco and those for research and development and the levels that they get, we see that those who grow tobacco in this company are favoured because if you look at the auction floors, we have many in the auction floors.

The price of tobacco is high, which means that these Government parastatals can be instrumental in the pricing of tobacco price. There are ways in which the Agriculture Marketing Authority warned in 2009 by advocating that there be people who buy cotton. That they be registered annually and that they pay $15 000 rates fee to enable them to buy cotton but they made it stringent for people to enter into that market. That led to a situation where a selected few then set up companies and they talk about how work should be done in the cotton industry.

The Cotton Ginneries Association is an organisation of the same people who are friends who are doing the same work which means that in all these arrangements, the farmer is not represented. The situation as it stands right now is that there is only one company called Kitwe that is into cotton seed. This cotton is ICO which means that the seeds for cotton are produced by a single person in the country who has a monopoly to come up with their price. This is where the whole saga starts. It means that the input that the farmer acquires, the farmer has no voice in saying that the inputs are over-priced because the insecticides that are used in cotton, there is no control over the prices. The pricing of the seeds is in conflict with the garment that is involved because there is no Government control. There are several factors that cause hardships on the cotton farmers. I see that the Government puts a legislation to protect private businesses for private buyers of cotton.

This is why we have this cotton problem. Last year the price was 85c to a dollar. We were anticipating when we had our meeting with our farmers because 100% of the constituents are cotton growers. We have a ginnery in my constituency. It was said that in Masvingo there is a lot of cotton farming hence the ginnery was set up. Mr. Speaker Sir, what we were discussing, I would want to say that we had a meeting last week with several farmers whose names I might mention. My uncle in Chiredzi phoned me this morning asking about the result of the issue of cotton. Some people such as Nyathi, Vomorai and others are waiting that I debate on this motion because we discussed it last week. A lot of farmers in my constituency are hoping that by the end of the week, we have a result. I saw the newspaper, but I did not see the price. I will look at the Government Gazette.

The Government should know that 70% of Zimbabwe residents have their livelihood from farming. The majority of them are in the communal lands. 95% of the market that is found in communal lands is raised from farming. Government offices have these statistics, it is well documented but we can not say all these people as the statistics that we may be given should bare the brand of price control because the nations who are in the minority are protected by the Government. I know when there was Cotton Marketing Board, a bale of cotton in past was equated to a cow or scotch-cart. This only changed so that the minority could benefit to use their resources to oppress the majority of the cotton farmers. As an august House we should be united and denying monopolies or oligopolies. These oligopolies, we should make sure that we have legislation and that legislation in this Parliament that sets out how regulations for cotton can be amended because it concerns the lives of a lot of people in the country.

I would want to say that we are happy that we saw the statement from the Minister of Agriculture who has since left the august House, that Government was expecting to buy cotton from farmers. This will help farmers who had loan sharks wielding axes over their heads, claiming that all the cotton produce belong to these loan sharks. The Government should look into these laws that are given by organisations such as AMA so that they can not oppress farmers who are advanced very few implements and then at the end of the day they then want to reap where they did not sow by coming up with ridiculous cotton prices.

Where I come from in Chiredzi, last week but one we had Samba with Concillor Matara, with a farmer whose name is Mr. Chikomo. The cotton buyers were called in for a field day, it was been known that a beast had been killed and there were other things. The farmers did not grace the occasion because they were ashamed of the price they were offering because their workers are children who come from cotton farming areas and they know the labour intensive crops and their requirements. We grow tobacco in Chiredzi North because our region can not produce any other crop because we have very little in the form of rainfall, hence our thriving on cotton mostly.

The Ministry of Agriculture should call the Cotton Ginners Association and we are told they are about 8 or 9 and we know that these people were not supposed to borrow money from this country to buy cotton because 95% of this cotton is for export. There is legislation that they should have money from those that they sell from outside the country. We urge our Minister of Agriculture to look into this issue to see that money from the sale of cotton should not be borrowed from outside the country. That is the law that has always been there. We know that they buy cotton on behalf of the principals outside, especially those who trade on the Liverpool cotton index in Britain.

So some of us in Chiredzi North and those that are in my constituency will be my worry such as Mr. Murevesi and Matsaure. We would want to say Government should intervene so that we can have a price of $1.20 on wards. That Government should buy this cotton because the farmer's duty is to grow the crop and the duty of the Government is to buy the product so that our Government can go back to the state where we were producing our products. Yes the clothes that we are wearing are imports and they are allowed through our borders. As populations grow in other countries and cities that we were hearing from persons from other countries, it means that they are reducing the hactarage of agriculture. If we are going to rely on buying clothes from outside the country we shall have problems in not having clothes, if we cannot grow cotton and produce our own clothes.

First and foremost, the Minister of Finance and those who should protect trade; there should be laws such that bales of clothing and cloth should not be imported into this country so that we can protect our industry and our farmers can have a ready market for their cotton. If we raise money, Government will also have money. The economy will have a starting point and will evolve. So we should become an industrialised nation - we hope that we shall take our money and problems with liquidity crunch. We have very little money circulating in the country, we can not have a situation where most our money is being taken from the country when we are raising very little in the form of finance internally. We only have book figures without hard cash.

As legislators in this august House, we should help those in the Government so that the money that is in Zimbabwe should circulate in Zimbabwe; so that our industries' production level could be increased. Our capacity utilisation level in industry is 60%, but if you were to go to the clothing industry, we are about 25 to 30%, but we are the ones who allow the 95% produce to be exported. Charity begins at home because the motion that has been raised by Hon. Bhasikiti is an important one; we should unite as we unanimously agree -as representatives of the people, we are in the Government. The farmers are saying they can not live on the miserly prices that are being offered by the cotton buyers. The Government should set a price of $1.20 or more.

The cotton that we produce in this country, there are people who are in developed countries who no longer want to use cotton that has been grown from regions that can cause climate change. They want cotton that is hand picked and can be graded A. If we were to look at the strand, the other strand from other places can not compare with ours. Our cotton is unique, it is different from that one from Brazil and America. Ours is environmentally friendly, it is a marketing strategy and a marketing tool that can be used by everyone; it can not harm the climate and those that are environmentally friendly value our cotton which is handpicked and it does not affect climatic changes.

Mr Speaker Sir, I urge that all of us should rally behind the motion that has been raised by Hon. Bhasikiti and urge our leaders to listen to the people who live on cotton as they have indicated that they were going to intervene. Those who are in business who were short changing the farmers; it is not the fault of the Government because everyone when they formed a Government should be looking at having a profit or a loss. The Government should support its people, I thank you.

MR. NYAMUDEZA: Thank you Mr. Speaker; I thank Hon. Bhasikiti who has raised such a good motion. I am surprised by our Government that at present we are blaming the companies when instead it is our Government which is bad. This company is operating in our country where we have a legal Government and the Government allowed its people to be short changed.

When we grew up in Chipinge, we used to pick cotton in the Middle Sabi; that was a big town for people who did not have high paying jobs. I am surprised, but in the 70s the White Farmer would spray the cotton using an aircraft and that farmer was able to actually harvest the cotton and be able to buy an aircraft but the present farmer can not even buy a plough.

The price being offered per kilogram is 25c. This price has robbed us of work; it has robbed us of our industries. We talk of promoting our industries but we are not promoting them because of the price of 25c being offered. In our communal lands, our farmers are self reliant, they work very hard. Gokwe, Checheche and Zaka have come about as a result of activities of cotton farming.

Last week we had a meeting with farmers at Jameson, they said there were 390 000 farmers. Imagine how many people will be employed by 390 000 farmers, that translates to 800 000 people who will be employed. At 25c per kilogramme, are we encouraging farmers to grow the same crop next year? It would now appear that our Government is now encouraging criminal activities specifically amongst the youths.

Most women in rural areas are self sufficient, they are farmers. I believe women organisations should have been in the forefront condemning this ridiculous price of cotton being offered because the majority of women are being affected. Some of these women are widows, they were paying school fees from proceeds of sales of cotton. Others are orphans and they were able to pay their school fees from cotton farming. In Chipinge, a 15 year old is given a piece of land to grow cotton. A man gives his wife a piece of land and whatever the woman produces belongs to the woman. A young man has two or more cows before marriage which he then pays for lobola.

Women have been put in an invidious position. The husbands are now leaving for Namibia or South Africa to look for work and the women are going to suffer because the Government has allowed these thieves to rob them in broad daylight. We have MPs who are farmers, they should form a company and buy cotton. We have an indigenisation policy, so farmers should come up with two or three companies, one in the northern region and the other in the southern region, they can be able to strike it rich.

Mr. Speaker, we should put our heads together in Parliament - I hope that the Constitution would address that because the minister is given power. The minister should consult Parliament, because parliamentarians are the ones who represent people in the constituencies.

Mr. Speaker, the practice in South Africa and Mozambique specifically in Mozambique, they have an alternative product called ininga. The Mozambican Government sets the price for cotton. A farmer who grows cotton in Kwa-Zulu Natal can pay for a motor vehicle but the Zimbabwean farmer can not afford even a bicycle, not even a plough or a hoe for weeding the field. Cotton companies in Zimbabwe, you hear from time to time that they are donating money to rugby, cricket but they are not ploughing anything to the communities. The roads are impassable.

In the past we used to go to the Middle Sabi and pick cotton and get pocket money. Those who came from disadvantaged families would pay their school fees. The farmers would build schools and the fees were subsidised. The current cotton farmer can not do the same as the previous farmer. I urge the Government specifically Members of Parliament in this august House that we demand our rights. As one of the three arms of the State, we should have the power to come up with a motion and the motion should be adopted and implemented. We may come up with this motion and adopt it and demand that the price be fair but nothing will be done.

*MRS. MAHOKA: Thank you Mr. Speaker. I would like to make my contribution towards the motion raised by Hon. Bhasikiti-Chuma. Hon. Bhasikiti-Chuma, thank you very much for bringing such a motion to this Hon. House. You have shown that you represent your constituency because you have brought in a relevant motion to be debated. Our farmers are being cheated, they are being looked down upon by these buyers. They do not appreciate their service.

Our farmers are being robbed, especially cotton farmers. Cotton farming is labour intensive, you need 6 bags Compound 'D', 2 bags of AN and you also use chemicals. In Hurungwe, for 1 hectare you need US$800. You find that when the cotton is sold, the money you fetch is equivalent to what you get for 1kg of onions. A kilogram of onions is sold for US$1 and yet cotton is sold for 30c per kg. The companies that are buying cotton at 30c, are they aware of what they are doing? I plead with COTTCO to readjust these prices. A kilogramme of onions is fetching more on the market than cotton, this is absurd.

I think we look down on our farmers. One of the contributors to this debate said that cotton farmers in the past, meaning the whites, after a harvest they would buy cars and even aircraft but todays' farmers can not buy any item of substance after harvesting. I think we should withhold our cotton because farmers are not benefiting from cotton farming. The farmers end up being poor. The people who are really suffering are the women of the apostolic sect because they grow more of cotton than tobacco because of their religious beliefs. I plead to these buyers, may they please buy cotton at $1.50 so that cotton farmers will benefit from their sweat. They can send their children to school the children are the future parliamentarians. I plead with Government to increase the money for cotton because you find that at the moment, you only get 30c and yet when you compare the cotton farmer with onion farmers, the onion farmer is getting well paid than this other farmer. COTTCO should allow for more players to come into the buying of cotton, there should be no monopoly in the buying of cotton.

Competition creates fair prices. There are also contract farmers, these farmers are not given adequate equipment to farm their cotton and yet the unfortunate thing is that these people despite under funding these farmers, they say they want to get the cotton grown by these farmers. The farmer would have used his own money to subsidize that which is given by the contract farmers. Therefore, farmers should really go and look for their own money, talk to the banks and when they have done that they use their own money. They would get better yields and better payments so that they can be wealthy because of their sweat.

You also find out that the Government has a problem in paying the farmers, for instance farmers sold maize to the Government in 2008 and as we speak, they have not yet been paid for that produce. I would plead with Hon. Made to talk to these cotton buyers so that they pay more for this produce. We had a meeting this previous week and we were talking to cotton farmers. These farmers are now querying, is this why they fought for the liberation struggle when you buy cotton for 30c, yet in the past this was sold for 80c? Why such a low price? Why such an absurd price? Why did we have so many lives lost for the liberation of Zimbabwe? Is 30c a sign of liberation?

We sympathize with these people because they hoped that in independent Zimbabwe they would be getting fair prices. COTTCO is a generous organisation, if you ask for sponsors in sports they will give you something. However, you find that they can not do social services such as repairing roads in the areas where they operate. I think they should get their priorities right. Therefore, I thank all the members in this august House because we are all talking in one language regarding this precious crop.

Cotton should be bought for more money and I suggest $1.50 per kilogram. When we look at tobacco, it is bought for $5.30 and I think that a farmer is a farmer, they should get fair treatment. You find that when you go to buy cotton wool, it is $2.80 for a small packet and yet you find that selling the whole bale of cotton, you cannot buy 10 packets sanitary pads. Hon. Speaker, thank you very much for allowing me this time to debate this motion. I am also grateful to Hon. Bhasikiti for introducing this debate.

MR. BHASIKITI-CHUMA: Thank you Mr. Speaker. I feel greatly humbled by the unity of purpose and the resolve that I have witnessed this afternoon from the members. This will compel me Mr Speaker to round off this motion and give a brief summary of what each member has put across for the record so that it will be evident that Government has a duty in this matter, a duty to perform and perform urgently. I want to thank Hon. Mangami who seconded this motion and emphasized that there has to be opening up of the market to other players and buyers so that we do away with monopoly which is now causing farmers to suffer. I thank Hon. Mutseyami, Member of Parliament for Chipinge for adding his voice and supporting this motion, highlighting that people in Chipinge who are the main growers of this crop are now living in misery. It should not be seen that our Government can be left to look at the suffering of the masses in Chipinge by failing to honour and assist the farmers. I thank you Hon. Mutseyami.

I also thank Hon. P. N. Sibanda from Binga North for supporting this motion in very clear and uncertain terms that farmers need to know the price before planting the crop. Government should adopt measures which motivate and encourage farmers to continue to grow this crop, adding one important element that cotton has to be graded at the point of sale not that the merchants will grade it alone at their ginneries.

I want to thank Hon. Mazikana who represents Mbire where there are also many cotton farmers in the area. You would not want to be convinced more by a man who comes to confess that he went to school from cotton money and that he is now married because cotton was able to give him money to pay lobola. So, you could see the central points members were expressing.

I thank again Hon. T. Khumalo who emphasised that should we allow the cotton industry to be destroyed by these merchants then we have denigrated the dignity of women who want to use it on daily routine. In the interest of time I would just mention members who contributed and thank them. Hon. Matonga who urged the Minister of Finance to come in with money and assist in giving solutions to the problem. Hon. Zinyemba said the Government should assist because those who are in Region 5 are not there by choice. I thank Hon. Dumbu from Zaka West for supporting this motion and urging Government to pay a minimum price of a dollar for cotton. Hon. Muza, I thank you for urging our 3 ministries to sit down and coordinate on this matter, the Ministry of Industry, Ministry of Agriculture and Ministry of Finance and quickly come up with a solution to assist our farmers.

I will also thank Hon. Sibanda M for his contribution that our Arex department in this country should educate farmers and give them up to date knowledge and information about the crops which they will be undertaking during the coming season. I thank Hon. Mudarikwa who spoke very strongly against the instrument which was put in by Government as AMA which resulted in the suffering of the people and created a monopoly through CGA - cotton Ginners' Association, got to fix prices and then buy again. I think that is highly important. I thank Hon. Varandeni, representing Bikita South for echoing his support for this motion and mentioning that people are now not enjoying their life styles. Hon. Raradza, I thank you so much that you have even given a very important highlight of the fact that cotton prices are now going up rather than going down, which means Government should act without delay.

I thank Hon. Matamisa for your contribution especially about David Whitehead where you highlighted the fact that the company was processing cotton from lint to garments but the economic sanctions have destroyed David Whitehead. So, we denounce the economic sanctions but we would want to see that model of producing cotton from lint to garment as was being done by David Whitehead, resuscitated and that company is quickly given assistance to carry out the good work that it was doing.

I thank Hon. Ndava who has a close grip and interaction with his constituency to the extent that on a daily basis and even now when he was in this House people continued to pester him about the cotton price and echoing that the price has to be fixed to a dollar. I thank Hon. Nyamudeza for his concurrence with the motion that our Government stand blamed for nursing the problem for a long time but now it has to own up and support the farmers, taking a cue from the Mozambican and South African Governments. I thank Hon. Mahoka for emphasising the point that it is very expensive to grow the crop and hence the price has to be pushed to mitigate the cost met by the farmers to a dollar.

Mr. Speaker, it is common cause that the motion at hand received maximum support from across our political divide, which means we are speaking about an issue which is of national interest and which has to be dealt with as such. I am happy and I will point out that even the Hon. Speaker himself, I know in most of our sessions, we end up with the Chair having been substituted by others but you took it upon yourself from start to finish to be seated there, listening and just emphasising the seriousness of this motion. So, Mr. Speaker I now call upon the House, even going beyond the norm because the support of the dollar price was quite overwhelming and this has to be a guiding feature to Government so that whatever they will implement will be guided by the recommendation of this House. Now, therefore, noting that cotton farming is labour intensive, expensive, and requires expertise on the part of the farmers and concerned that the cotton traders buy the cotton at uncompetitive prices, thereby ripping off farmers, considering the effort and amounts they spend to harvest a good crop. Now therefore, calls upon the Government to intervene by determining the cotton price to one dollar per kg so that cotton farmers can benefit from the Land Reform. I move that the motion be adopted.

Motion put and agreed to.

ANNOUNCEMENT BY MR. SPEAKER

VOLUNTARY TESTING AND COUNSELLING

MR. SPEAKER: In view of the overwhelming response to the voluntary testing and counselling as well as male circumcision set for Friday 22nd June, 2012, members are informed that the programme will now start tomorrow, Wednesday 20th June and Thursday 21st June, 2012, for group counselling sessions from 09:00hrs to 12:00hrs, in the Senate Chamber. Members who volunteered for the programme are requested to indicate which day they are coming for counselling sessions. Please submit your names to Mr. Chiremba, Mr. Chuma or Mrs. Chingoka. The main event however remains on Friday 22 nd June, 2012, starting at 08:30hrs in the morning. This announcement is coming from the ZIPAH Management.

On the motion of MR. MUSHONGA seconded by MISS. A. NDHLOVU , the House adjourned at Twenty Seven Minutes to Six o'clock p.m.

Last modified on Friday, 22 November 2013 05:29
BLOG COMMENTS POWERED BY DISQUS
National Assembly Hansard Vol. 38 NATIONAL ASSEMBLY HANSARD - 19 JUNE 2012 VOL. 38 NO. 42