IN a bid to boost cotton prices and make the crop benefit farmers, the number of factories for processing the crop have to be increased so as to minimize exportation of raw materials.
Minister for Agriculture, Japhet Hasunga told parliament on Wednesday that cotton prices were not attractive to farmers because most of the produce was exported as raw materials.
He said the cotton price had dropped in the world market and that exporting it as raw material won't benefit farmers.
He said in the 2019/20 financial year, the government intervened in the cotton business to help farmers.
According to Mr Hasunga, the best solution to the problem was to ensure that there were more processing factories in the country.
The minister was responding to a primary question posed by Busega MP Raphael Chegeni (CCM), who wanted to know what the government was doing to boost cotton prices.
He said cotton farmers were in a dilemma since there was no specific price for their produce and that it was high time the government came up with answers that would help Busega residents and cotton farmers across the country.
"Cotton farmers are facing many challenges; I would like to know what the government is doing to address them," he said.
The minister said the best solution was to process cotton in the country and manufacture various products locally instead of relying on foreign markets.
He said the government was continuing with plans to support local investors to build industries that would use cotton from farmers.
He added that a conducive environment for foreign investors had been created to enable them to establish industries and engage in production by using cotton as raw materials.
According to Minister Hasunga, through such strategies, cotton farmers will be assured of reliable markets and competitive prices.
"We are also asking commercial banks to provide loans to local investors who come up with proposals of investing in cotton processing industries in the country," he said.
He said his ministry had commissioned the Institute of Finance management (IFM) to come up with a detailed report on cotton industry investment.
He said the report would give a clear direction on the improvement of the sector. He said the report will be completed by July, 2020.