By Tapiwa Machemedze
Cotton deliveries have surged in Muzarabani in line with the peak period of the marketing season while payments.
Mountains of cotton bales characterise Cottco’s Muzarabani depot. In the ginnery employees are working 24 hours a day in three shifts in order to cope up with the surge in deliveries witnessed this year.
“The buying season is progressing well so far because so far we have managed to purchase 50 percent of our intake targets, there is a very good response from our farmers since we are making timely payments for their seed cotton,” says Cottco Senior Area Manager Phillip Mayanganise.
At buying points dotted across the district farmers are coming in numbers and they are upbeat as payment has improved.
“I had a good season due to good rains. I planted 10 hectares of cotton and so far, I’ve delivered 30 bales. I expect to come back with another 2000 kilograms,’ says cotton grower Isaac Svinurai.
Eurita Kabvara also said, “As a female farmer who has had 12 years’ experience in growing cotton, I can say everything is going smoothly. We are getting free inputs thanks to the Presidential inputs programme and we are earning a living out of cotton.”
In Muzarabani and Mbire, 48 000 thousand farmers were contracted this season, translating to 57 thousand hectares, which is a significant improvement from last year’s production of 37 thousand hectares.
Government is this year supporting farmers to the tune of ZWL$3.3 billion worth of payments.
The support compliments the ZWL$1.5 billion which was availed to pay for last year’s outstanding dues to farmers, according to Minister of Land Agriculture Fisheries Water and Rural Resettlement, Dr. Anxious Masuka, who was recently in Bindura.
Through the government subsidy farmers are being paid ZWL$85 per kilogramme of grade A cotton and ZWL$56 for grade C and D of the white gold, with Cottco forking out ZWL$34 of the amount, while government will add ZWL$22.