Govt cotton investment pays off

The Chronicle

Patrick Chitumba, Midlands Bureau Chief
COTTON farmers in Gokwe North and Gokwe South districts are optimistic of a bumper harvest, with the crop having reached budding stage, thanks to the timely disbursement of inputs and good rains received this summer cropping season.

Budding stage is when the cotton plant blooms.

About 52 percent of cotton produced in the country is produced in Gokwe North and Gokwe South districts according to the Cotton Company of Zimbabwe (Cottco)

The Government has introduced a number of support programmes to boost the cotton farming sector after years of under-investment like the Pfumvudza/Intwasa Cotton Scheme that was launched by President Mnangagwa in Gokwe last December.

Over the last two years, Cottco has been on a drive to revive its relationship with farmers so that they start to grow cotton again in their numbers.

From Nemangwe in Gokwe South to Chitekete in Gokwe North, the cotton crop planted early has reached the budding stage giving farmers hope of a bumper harvest.

Cottco Nemangwe depot area manager Mr Leonard Tivenge said the crop is looking good after Government disbursed inputs on time while the good rains have come as a blessing to farmers of the white gold.

He said if the favourable weather conditions continue, farmers will be smiling all the way to the bank.

“The crop is showing a very good sign of being healthy.

The balls are showing us that the farmers have time to understand our teachings.

We hope that the rains continue to pound at this rate so that we can manage to get the much-needed harvest.

We are impressed by the way things are going in the white gold sector,” said Mr Tivenge.

Mr Josiah Baure, Cottco Chitekete area manager said: “The good rains have come as a blessing.

The spacing of the crop is good. We expect maximum yield per hectare as farmers are complying with our instructions.

It’s a good season and the amount of balls per crop is proving to be a plus on our projections.”

Chief Nemangwe commended Government for distributing inputs on time under the Pfumvudza/Intwasa Cotton Scheme which the majority of his subjects have embraced.

“It’s quite impressive that we have such a good crop.

The rains; so far so good for us.

We have the hope that we will make it big this time around.

We managed to get all the necessary inputs on time and already our crops are showing a good bill of health.”

Chief Chireya said planting the crop early always works well adding that they were expecting a bumper harvest.

“Our soil is so rich with minerals.

The rains have so far been very good for us.

We have been working hard to preserve the cotton sector.

We have managed to buy a lot and send children to schools and make a difference in communities.

We have high hopes that this season we will make a difference.”

The Second Republic embarked on a drive to rescue the cotton sector through the climate-proof Pfumvudza/ Intwasa programme where farmers are allocated free inputs towards production of the crop.

Before that, there was a serious drop in interest in the farmers who wanted to grow the crop.

Around 2015, production slumped to about 28 000 tonnes in terms of national production, down from averages of 200 000 to 250 000 tonnes per annum.

That drop was caused by poor prices that merchants were paying against high cost of inputs, which were being given on credit and also this was on the back of declining international prices.

So, during that period the farmer had the bad end of that bargain.

When the Presidential Input Scheme was introduced by Government, the purpose was to resuscitate and generate interest.

Article Source: The Chronicle

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