Zimbabwean government approves $1.5bn to pay debt owed cotton farmers

The Zimbabwean government has said it has authorised the release of an additional $1.5 billion to settle outstanding payments to cotton farmers for the crops delivered this marketing season.

The fund is in addition to the $1.8 billion previously released by the government as part payment, to pay the farmers financed under the Presidential Inputs Support Scheme.

Zimbabwe’s Ministry of Lands, Agriculture and Rural Resettlement, recently revealed this through its Minister, Dr. Anxious Masuka.

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The government also restated its commitment to producing inputs worth US$82 million this season to support 400,000 households.

The minister said the government would continue to finance cotton production through “Cottco” – Zimbabwe’s leading cotton market.

Masuka said, “As you might be aware, the mobile money transactions were suspended by the Government in June and for a good reason; to stabilize the broader macro-economic environment

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“This disrupted payments to farmers… alternative payment systems you (cotton merchants) have devised include, but not limited to the purchase and the distribution of groceries, farm implements and household requirements.

“The acceptance of these payment schemes by farmers and spectators across the country has been varied.

“But now that normalcy has returned, I expect that Cottco will begin to use these platforms so that farmers will choose what to do with their own money.

“There is an outstanding balance of $1.5 billion that is due and I think perhaps in the next week or so those payments will begin to flow,” he added.

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Masuka, however, warned farmers against abusing the inputs, urging Cottco to account for the inputs.

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