THE Cotton Company of Zimbabwe (Cottco) has confirmed Mr Pious Manamike as the company’s substantive managing director with effect from November 28, 2020.
Mr Manamike, with over 30 years of experience in corporate governance, financial management, strategy preparation and implementation, has been the acting managing director of the country’s largest cotton company since 2016, having been appointed following the dissolution of the previous board led by Ms Cecelia Paradza.
Industrialist Mr Sifelani Jabangwe was appointed non-executive chairman following the death of Dr Abraham Babs Nyoni. Dr Ezekia Svotwa, a seasoned agriculture expert, and Ms Cynthia Tapera, a marketer filled in the position left following the death of another board member and the resignation of Mr Paul Zakaria.
Cottco administers the Presidential Inputs Scheme, a State-funded programme meant to assist communal and vulnerable farmers in cotton farming regions with free inputs.
Since 2016, the Manamike led management helped the turnaround of the cotton industry after national output rose from 28 000 tonnes in 2015 or 92 percent lower than peak production of 352 000 tonnes achieved 2012, to 144 000 tonnes in 2017.
However, back to back droughts during the following two seasons, which also affected other crops such as maize and tobacco saw production of the fibre declining.
The National Development Strategy 1 has identified the cotton sector as key in helping to achieve the countries vision of transforming Zimbabwe into an upper middle income economy by 2030. The NDS1 notes the cotton value chain provides economic and livelihood synergies through vertical and sideway linkages with the textile, apparel, yarn, fabric, oil processing, and stock feed among other industries.
However, the value chain has been affected by low uptake of cotton into the value chain due to antiquated machinery, outdated technology and the emergence of competing alternatives such as synthetic fibres.
There is also a huge gap between throughput and value-added cotton. This year, about 300 000 farmers are being supported under the Presidential Inputs Scheme. The programme has been described as a critical social development tool, as many families can now afford social needs including health and education. Apart from supporting farmers with free inputs, Cottco also has a free tillage programme meant to assist farmers without drought animals. Zimbabwe’s cotton is mostly grown by small-holder farmers and has for long been highly favoured for its organic quality. It is one of the major foreign currency earners alongside tobacco and horticultural produce.