CHIPINGE – Several leading cotton companies have lost 7893 bales of cotton lint worth US$2 767 600 to fire.
The cotton was burnt at Parrogate at Checheche in Chipinge on Monday where it had been brought for ginning. The fire raged from around 3am unti after 12pm when Greenfuel and Hippo Valley sent its fire tenders.
The companies that lost their cotton are Cotton Company of Zimbabwe (Cotco), Southern Cotton, Consolidated Cotton of Zimbabwe and Shawasha Cotton.
The companies buy their cotton in Chipinge and Chiredzi then contract Parrogate for ginning.
Agri Value Chain Ginnery manager, Rohit Verma said he was busy each time Chipinge Times called him.
There are suspicions that the fire was caused by Parrogate employees who were dismissed without getting their dues.
National Police Spokesperson Assistant Commissioner Paul Nyathi said a note was found at the scene threatening to burn cotton if the suspect fails to receive his or her money within five days.
He said police are conducting investigations.
Chipinge South MP, Enock Porusingazi confirmed the incident to Chipinge Times.
“The fire started in the storage area where lint which is ready for dispatch is kept after being processed and spread to the entire Ginnery and it was about to destroy neighbouring complex,” he said.
“The company dismissed some workers without terminal benefits and these are suspects for starting the fire. Banners with demands from workers were seen near the company,” said a source.