SINO Zimbabwe Cotton Holdings is targeting a 17 percent increase in output of cotton seed to 35 000 metric tonnes after commissioning a US$17 million ginning and spinning plant in December last year, an official said. The plant was officially commissioned by President Robert Mugabe towards the end of last year. The company has lined up projects to support value addition and beneficiation in the cotton industry in support of Zimbabwe Agenda for Socio-Economic Transformation, Government's new economic blueprint for the period 2014-2018. Sino Zim currently has 15 000 contracted farmers with a total 32 000 hectares under crop after US$3 million has been injected towards procurement of inputs for the 2013/14 farming season. In an interview with Herald Business yesterday, Sino Zim general manager (operations) Mr Sebastian Makoni said the plant has capacity to increase seed cotton production.' "We expect an increase in seed production now that the plant has been officially opened and functional. The plant has two sections namely the ginnery and the spinning where an increase in seed production is certain. "It has a ginning capacity of 25 000 tonnes of cotton seed and lint," he said. "The company also hopes to double its 30 000 spinners' capacity, depending on the supply of cotton in the country." He said the company's primary objective is to promote seed cotton production and ensuring farmers have equal and free access to high quality inputs at reasonably sustainable prices. "The spinning section is a 24-hour plant that is divided into three shifts and this initiative of constructing the plant was driven by our wish to add value to cotton in the country rather than sit back and see lint being exported," Mr Makoni said. He said the company is working towards fulfilling the objective espoused in the ZimAsset with Sino Zim the only cotton company in the country that has come with this idea. "In our sector, the approach that Sino Zim has taken should be an example to other players in the industry that have not yet defined their intentions in the country. Those big players should improve their corporate social responsibility by constructing infrastructure that will benefit the locals," he said. The plant has created 400 jobs since its official opening in December last year with more jobs expected to be created as the company plans to embark on other projects that will improve cotton production in the country. Sino Zimbabwe Cotton has been in existence since 2010 and has so far contracted farmers from Gokwe, Chiredzi, Mount Darwin , Bindura and Kadoma to grow cotton. The company produces yarn and lint which is exported to China , Hong Kong , South Africa and Europe .
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