The Cotton Company of Zimbabwe Limited (Ltd) which is popularly known as Cottco is the largest cotton company in the country which buys cotton from farmers and processes it for export. It also helps farmers with inputs under its Input Credit Scheme, distinguishing itself from other cotton companies in the country. It is listed on the Zimbabwe Stock Exchange (ZSE). Mr Collins Chihuri is the current Managing Director of Cottco.
Cottco was founded from the ruins of the Cotton Marketing Board (CMB) which was established in 1969 as a parastatal. In 1994, Cottco was privatised and it was listed on the ZSE in 1997. Cottco grew to become one of the most successful parastatals in the country from 1997 to 2008. Companies such as Scottco, SeedCo, Quton, Olivine Exhort Enterprises, Cotpro and Motmate Designs were under Cottco.
Formation of AICO Africa Ltd
In 2008, there was the formation of AICO Africa Ltd, which was an agricultural conglomerate and Cottco was incorporated under AICO Africa Ltd. This turned to be a blessing in disguise as Cottco was at the brink of collapsing. Subsequently, Cottco was de-listed from the ZSE paving way for AICO Africa Ltd. All the subsidiary companies of Cottco were also incorporated under AICO Africa Ltd. A steady rise in cotton production was witnessed though the company was owed more than US$12 million by its contracted farmers under the Input Credit Scheme. Farmers had developed a tendency of accessing inputs from Cottco but selling their cotton to other companies on the basis that Cottco was under paying them (US$0.50 per kilogram which seems to be the fixed amount)
The Unbundling Of AICO Africa Ltd
In December 2013, AICO Africa Ltd was unbundled and this saw the emergence of Cottco as a separate entity and or company. AICO Africa Ltd since 2008 was the sole owner of Cottco. After December 2013, the National Social Security Authority (NASSA) became the majority share holder of Cottco. Cottco was then again listed on the ZSE.
Whilst the company was recuperating from the losses it had incurred during the period when AICO Africa Ltd was having its own problems, the then Managing Director of the company, Mr David Mashingaidze was accused of splurging about US$800 000 without the consent of the company's board. It was reported that, Mashingaidze used some of the money to pay undercover investigators whom he had instructed to spy on his so called employees. Some of the money was donated to Emmanuel Makandiwa's United Families International Church (UFIC) and to Johanne Marange's Apostolic Sect. In the wake of this fiasco, Mashingaidze was dismissed from the company and Collins Chihuri was appointed as the new Managing Director of Cottco.
In June 2014, it was reported that, the China-Africa Development Fund was set to be the major share holder of Cottco through its subsidiary company, China-Africa Cotton. This move was meant to inject funds into Cottoco's coffers. The company was no longer able to assist many of its farmers. The company had also been the sponsor of the Schools Rugby Festival (held at Prince Edward High School annually in August) since 1996 and the event was popularly known as the Cottco Rugby Festival. In 2014, Dairiboard Zimbabwe Private Limited became the sponsor of the rugby festival.
- About Us, Cottco, published:2006,retrieved:30 July 2014"
- Collins Rudzuna Industry Challenges Threaten Cottco, Hispanic Business, published:4 Jun 2014,retrieved:30 July 2014"
- Chipo Musoko, Cottco to inject $25 million in contract farming, The Source, published:20 Nov 2013,retrieved:30 July 2014"
- Martin Kadzere, China-Africa Fund to acquire stake in Cottco, The Herald, published:13 Jun 2014,retrieved:30 July 2014"
- COTTCO BOSS SIPHONS $800 000, News dzeZimbabwe, published:15 Dec 2013,retrieved:30 July 2014"
- Call it Cottco no longer, Daily News, published:3 Mar 2014,retrieved:30 July 2014"