The Swaziland government has raised the price of cotton by 7 percent in an effort to revive the industry to combat poverty and unemployment in rural areas.
Moses Vilakati, the country’s minister of agriculture, announced the increase Monday during a press conference in the ministry’s boardroom, according to the Times of Swaziland.
“I am happy to announce to our farmers that despite the current trading difficulties, the price of cotton this season will increase by over seven per cent from E5.45 [$0.52] to E5.85 [$0.56] per kilogram for top grade cotton seed,” he said.
According to the minister, cotton is a major cash crop for farmers in the Middleveld and Lowveld regions of the country. He also noted that the country’s cotton industry has been struggling as a result of drought and the crop’s price instability.
But the price increase, and other initiatives like expanding local ginneries, is part of the Swaziland’s effort to stimulate profitability in the industry.
“In an effort to resuscitate the cotton industry, government through the ministry of agriculture injected funds to a tune of E8.5 million to retain the cotton ginnery,” Vilakati said. “This was pursuant of the objectives contained in the turn-around strategy of the cotton sector,” he added.
Nearly 3,000 farmers will see their profits go up as a result of the price increase.