Lilongwe, March 8: Cotton farmers in the country will have to breathe a sigh of relief as the bill they were eagerly waiting for has been passed in parliament on Thursday.
The Cotton bill will identify international markets, establishment of cotton council and boost foreign exchange in the country.
Speaking after the bill was passed Minister of Agriculture and Food Security, Professor Peter Mwanza said that the bill was very crucial as Government has taken the advantage of the available markets to help boost the foreign exchange in the country.
He also said that the passing of the bill will help government to vitalize the irregularities that surrounded the cotton industry in the country.
“As you know the cotton industry in the country has suffered tremendous irregularities, but with the passing of the bill through the Cotton Council of Malawi we will be able to deal with these problems,” said Mwanza.
He said that the Cotton Council will have a Cotton Development Fund which will fund training activities and extension services for the farmers.
According to Mwanza, government has embarked on a process to scale up cotton so that it becomes the second best foreign exchange crop and that it is needed in large volumes in Eastern parts of Asia.
“Currently cotton is the forth foreign exchange earner, as government we are in the process of scaling up cotton so that it becomes the second from Tobacco,
“We are expected to export cotton to India and China and some parts of eastern Asia as they need large volumes of Cotton there,” he said.
Mwanza said that the variety of cotton the country is using is the normal cotton but was quick to say that they would prefer if they used the Genetic Modified (GMO) cotton which is easy to grow and uses fewer pesticides.
Later in the day parliament also passed 10 votes among others being the Ministry of Education, Ministry of Finance, Local Development Fund and Malawi Revenue Authority.