MUZARABANI farmers are in dilemma as they spend the whole day seated on bale piles waiting for their money from cotton companies. Cottco, Grafax, China Africa and Alliance are failing to pay cotton farmers hard cash opting for Ecocash payments since the opening of 2017 market season. The Tenacity Post learnt that, farmers had received $25 hard cash per bale and the remainder balance was to be deposited to Ecocash accounts.
Cotton farmers have been disadvantaged, they sell a bale of cotton at $0.35 per kilogram, maximum mass of a bale is 250kg and the net income per bale is $87.50, an amount which is way too low. A new rate of $0.47 has been proposed. Farmers pointed that, despite having cash in their mobile money wallets, it can no longer be converted to hard cash due to the country’s cash shortages. Agritex officer for Kaerezi ward 23 in Muzarabani, Mr Chipara said,
“Other farmers are old and they don’t have mobile lines as well as no idea of operating mobile phones. Transactions via mobile money platforms are increasing, but there is no cash to give out to farmers.” Muzarabani is located in semi-arid zone with little or no rainfall, if the area receives more rainfall there is a hazard of drought. This year the area was rocked with floods and some of the crops were washed away.
The cash crisis in Zimbabwe has forced Muzarabani cotton farmers to resort to batter trading after finding it difficult to pay for goods and services. The Tenacity Post that there are few Ecocash outlets in the remote areas of Mahonaland Central Province ,with at least one in Bere which has no cash at all, and one in Chadereka which is far away as well as it serves its surrounding clients.
Farmers are now impulsively buying as a way of getting money, and they have complained that, they are asked to purchase over priced goods in order to get cash balance afterwards. Some pointed that they fear conducting transactions with mobile phones because they just want physical cash, so they are in poverty while having some thousands in their phones. Other areas of Mashonaland Central province worst affected by cash issues are Mahuwe, Guruve, as well as Mukumbura.