Cotton Research & Industry Board

Cotton Research & Industry Board



In 1936, the Southern Rhodesian government, the Empire Cotton Growing Corporation (ECGC), and the British Cotton Growing Association (BCGA) established the Cotton Research and Industry Board (CRIB) in Gatooma to oversee the development of the cotton industry in the country. The Board established three ginneries in Gatooma with funding from the BCGA.

In 1941, the Cotton Research Station (CRS) became an integral part of CRIB because the Board assumed responsibility for cotton research following the withdrawal of the ECGC from direct involvement in Southern Rhodesia. In 1942, the CRIB was reconstituted by the Cotton Research and Industry Act.

In 1943, CRIB constructed the first spinning mill in Gatooma with a capacity of 1,000 spindles, which was later increased to 35,000 spindles with the construction of the No. 2 mill in 1951.

In the same year the government sanctioned the construction of a third mill, but it was not immediately built. The increase in the number of industrial concerns using the CRIB yarn and the expected expansion of textile demands from a wider federal market from 1953, generated debate in government, business circles and by interested parties on the possible location of the third mill.

For reasons that are not very clear, friction between the CRIB and the municipality of Gatooma developed to the extent that the Board expressed the desire to locate the additional mill (and thereby increase the spinning capacity of the industry) in other parts of the country rather than in Gatooma.


  • James Gavin
  • Keith Harrop