NDOLA: The Chipata Cotton Company is gearing up to enhance the production. In order to meet the demands of the new cotton ginnery in the province the cotton company is aiming to register about 20,000 small-scale cotton farmers.
Outgrower scheme assistant, Yakub Daya said from Chipata that the 20,000 peasant farmer target was meant to raise the farmer base from the current 2,500 farmers in the area.
Mr Daya said the US$20 million cotton ginnery had the capacity to process about 20,000 tonnes of cotton to be fully operational, saying that however that there was need to scale up production if the plant operations were to be sustained.
"We have started registering new small scale farmers and our target is 20,000 peasant farmers from the current farmer base of 2,500," Mr Daya said.
He said increasing production levels in the province would also help realise the vision of establishing ginneries in all districts in the province.
"The vision is to establish cotton ginnery plants in all the districts in Eastern Province, but this will depend on the support Zambians will give to the project through increased production of cotton," he said.
Mr Daya said Chipata Cotton Company would sell all the processed lint to the Zambia China Mulungushi Textiles (ZCMT) and only the surplus would be exported.
The outgrower scheme had an earlier arrangement where it was supplying seed cotton to the ZCMT, but the cotton, would now be channeled through the ginnery and only lint would be sold.
Mr Daya said the long term vision of the ginnery is to establish a fully fledged textile industry, which will produce finished materials if the company started producing more lint than what the ZCMT could take.
"In 12 to 15 years, we are looking at a long term vision of establishing a textile company that will produce finished materials, but this will only be done if we see that ZCMT fail to buy all our lint," he said.
The US$20million Chipata Cotton Company project is expected to create about 150 jobs in addition to improving outgrower scheme by scaling up the farmer base.
June 15, 2004