HARARE – Zimbabwean cotton farmers are owed ZWL$1.5 billion from last season’s produce, ENN reports.

This development came to light as the farmers returned home empty-handed last week after delivering their first batch of cotton bales, raising fears that they may fail to get paid for this year’s cotton deliveries again. It is alleged that the buying points failed to pay their cash.

The government of Zimbabwe has a signigicant shareholding in the Cotton Company of Zimbabwe (COTTCO), which is the largest buyer of the country’s cotton output.

“Farmers in other crops are getting paid promptly. The cotton marketing season started on Tuesday 18 May but no payment has been done. It is clear that the money is not there at buying points”, the Cotton Producers and Marketers Association chairperson Steward Mubonderi said. Mubonderi further confirmed that cotton farmers are yet to be paid last year’s balance of ZWL$1.5 billion for their cotton deliveries as worries of another non-payment for their deliveries mount.

“We hope that this year’s payment will be done promptly as we expect the Agricultural Marketing Authority to provide clerks at each buying point unlike the previous years to quicken the payment process.” Mubonderi further said.