Bright season for cotton growers

by Agriculture reporter

Cotton Producers and Marketers Association Chairman, Stewart Mubonderi has revealed that the cotton crop germination countrywide for the 2020/21 agricultural season is pleasing and is close to 100 percent compared to only less than 20 percent recorded last year.

Mubonderi revealed that more farmers expressed interest to grow the white gold. He said they were expecting more than 200 000 tonnes this year compared to 80 000 tonnes delivered last season.

“Generally the crop situation countrywide is pleasing and we are expecting better harvests compared to last season, especially in areas such as Chiweshe, Gokwe Nembudziya, Nzvimbo and Sanyati. I can safely say due to the good rains the country is receiving, the germination rate is at 100 percent compared to about 15 percent last year, where we also witnessed a lot of replants.

“There is a massive response in farmer registration with more and more farmers expressing interest to venture into cotton growing due to the free Presidential Inputs Support Scheme and we are currently compiling figures of new farmers countrywide. In Nzvimbo for example, more than 800 new farmers have registered to grow cotton this season compared to only 97 who were registered last year,” said Mubonderi.

He further revealed that the distribution of cotton inputs countrywide being administered by the Cotton Company of Zimbabwe (Cotco) on behalf of Government, was progressing well adding that payment in form of groceries, which started last marketing season, also generated interest among cotton farmers.

“Distribution of cotton inputs across the country is progressing very well. The Presidential Inputs Scheme has transformed lives of many cotton farmers, hence more farmers want to join the wagon. Cotton farmers were also happy to receive groceries as form of payment, a development which started last marketing season,” he said.

The Presidential input support scheme programme, launched in 2015, has helped to resuscitate the cotton industry with output growing from 28 000 tonnes, the lowest in nearly two decades, to 143 000 tonnes in 2018. Since its launch, the scheme has attracted a lot of new cotton farmers, hence the increase in output.

Mubonderi urged players in the private sector to complement Government efforts in reviving the cotton industry through providing cotton inputs as the Presidential input scheme is becoming overwhelmed.