By Steve Ephraem in Checheche
War of supremacy has eloped in Chipinge, Checheche district in this year’s seed cotton buying season.
Checheche is under Lowveld Region and is one of cotton buying powerhouses in Zimbabwe in the same league with Mt Darwin, Gokwe and Sanyati.
Post On Sunday descended onto Checheche this week and visited Matezwa, Checheche, Matikwa, Munepasi, Chinyamukwakwa and Marega buying points to witness how the cotton buying process is faring.
Although seed cotton intake hasn’t reached its peak yet, accusations amongst three cotton merchants licenced to purchase the white diamond in Checheche are flaring left, centre and right.
Cotton buying merchants in Checheche are government owned Cotton Company of Zimbabwe (Cottco) and two private players; Shawash Agri and Southern Cotton.
The most interesting thing is that naturally, the public sector is a sworn enemy of the private players during the cotton buying periods.
Like the Biblical Herod who was a sworn enemy of Pontio Pilate but the two became temporary became friends on the issue that was related to Jesus’ death, field officer from Shawash Agri and Southern Cotton have a common war against Cottco which they accuse those from Cottco as having a big brother mentality upon them.
When Cottco is no involved, field guys from the two private players return to the battle for supremacy as far as tonnage intake is concern. Each one of them would want to get the most cotton tonnage.
According to farmers who spoke to this reporter, all the companies are not paying for the seed cotton in full but giving part payment.
“We are being given US10 and part payment by Cottco while Southern Cotton is giving shopping vouchers of RTGS7 000 which are redeemed in N. Richard Checheche wholesale. The balances are said to be paid in growers’ accounts,” said one farmer who preferred anonymity.
Nasty accusations have happened at Matikwa buying point where several clashes have happened between Shawash Agri and Cottco. A seed cotton bale confiscated incident between Cottco and Shawash Agri happening in full view of this reporter. Cottco was accusing the farmer of side marketing.
In another incident which happened later, a female Shawash Agri cashier has accused a male Cottco officer of sexually harassing her during a seed cotton confiscation scuffle at Matikwa buying point and the case has since spilled into courts of law.
The battle of supremacy is still raging on. It shall be seen who will come out of the cotton buying war with no bruises.