Cotton farmers start picking their white gold

Agriculture Reporter

Cotton farmers in Chiredzi, Sanyati and some parts of the country who planted early have started harvesting their crop and are hopeful that prices for the commodity would be attractive.

The crop is Zimbabwe’s second biggest agricultural export after tobacco, and is mainly grown in drier regions of the country.

Cottco Head of Operations, Maxmore Njanji confirmed to this publication that cotton farmers who irrigated their crop and those who planted early have started picking their white gold.

“Most cotton farmers in areas like Chiredzi and Sanyati who planted early using irrigation have already started picking their crop, with much of the crop yet to ripen,” said Njanji.

Njanji noted that cotton crop situation countrywide is in a pleasing state and farmers are expecting bumper harvest.

Under the Cotton Presidential Input Programme, 350 000 hectares were planted which will give a projected output of 300 000 tonnes.

Njanji revealed that in preparation for the 2021 marketing season, Cottco has established 660 buying points across the country.

 “We are currently making necessary logistics, equipping the buying points in preparation for the 2021 marketing season. We don’t want farmers to travel long distances to buying points, so we are making sure that buying points are close to where they are,” he said.

Njanji said cotton prices on the international market continued to firm. He said this year it was pegged at US$0.84 per pound compared to US$0.55 for year. He said these prices were encouraging for our farmers adding that prices and payment modalities for this marketing season would be announced soon.

The Government is determined to revive the cotton industry which for long has been affected by poor prices both locally and internationally. The Government moved in with a free inputs scheme to boost cotton production through Cottco which has seen nearly 400 000 farmers constituting 90 percent of total cotton farmers benefit from the inputs.