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Cottco appoints new CEO, COO…as Zim seeks to double cotton output

In a statement yesterday, Cottco said the new CEO was passionate about bringing smallholder women farmers together to learn and share experiences through various platforms.

COTTON producer, Cottco Holdings Limited, has appointed Priscilla Mutembwa and Munyaradzi Chikasha as chief executive and chief operating officers, respectively, as it seeks to transform the organisation.

The appointments come as Zimbabwe seeks to return the glory to the “white gold”.

Chikasha has been heading the organisation in an acting capacity since last year following the arrest of then managing director Pious Manamike on corruption charges.

In a statement yesterday, Cottco said the new CEO was passionate about bringing smallholder women farmers together to learn and share experiences through various platforms.

“She is a remarkable and distinguished leader with the experience, drive, and vision to expand on the success of Cottco. We are delighted to have her as Cottco’s new leader and look forward to seeing her bring new and exciting opportunities to the business as we move into the next phase of transforming Cottco and communities,” the company said.

Mutembwa has worked for BOC Gases Zimbabwe, BAT Zimbabwe Holdings Limited, ZABG and Cargill Zimbabwe (Private) Limited,” CHL said.

She also worked for British Rail and Unicef while residing in Europe and has severed on several boards as a non-executive board member in her career.

The executive served as CEO at Cargill Zimbabwe for six years before relocating to the United States where she obtained a master’s degree in cybersecurity.

Until his latest appointment, Chikasha was the acting accounting officer.

The latest appointments come as Zimbabwe is projecting an increase in cotton output.

Speaking at yesterday’s World Cotton Day commemoration, Lands, Agriculture, Fisheries, Water and Rural Development minister Anxious Masuka said the cotton sector recorded a 61% increase this season to 90 085 metric tonnes (MT).

This, Masuka added, was against 56 044MT as of the 2020/2021 season.

He said the current governmental reviews of Agriculture, Food Systems and Rural Transformational Strategy (AFSRTS) was projected to more than double output to189 000 metric tonnes.

“Under the current review of the AFSRTS, the cotton sector is projected to grow to 189 000MT. The value of the cotton, and farmer payments this year, US$29 million and ZWL$28 billion, an average of US$175 per grower,” Masuka said.

He warned farmers against misusing inputs as it would have a negative impact in the production, marketing, and development of the farming industry.

Masuka said the government would focus on supporting Cottco as well as increasing its shareholding to 51% to “have better control and direction of the business and ensure farmers are not left behind”.

He said that government and the ministry had to value chain the cotton farming.

Masuka said the AFSRTS plan, launched by President Emmerson Mnangagwa in 2020, is aimed at growing the agricultural sector into an US$8,2 billion economy by 2025.

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