By Tendai Munengwa
COTTON is regaining its status as one of the country’s biggest foreign currency earners after raking in US$67 million, compared to just US$4.5 million in 2016.
A report released by the Cotton Company of Zimbabwe (COTTCO) on the performance of the Presidential Free Inputs Programme since 2016 shows that there has been a record 975 percent increase in seed production.
The number of growers has also jumped from 155 000 households to more than 420 000 since 2016.
Capacity utilisation by the parastatal shot from 10 percent to 100 percent, with COTTCO now outsourcing ginning under a toll ginning arrangement.
The company’s Chief Executive officer, Pious Manamike revealed that the white gold is slowly regaining its status as one of the biggest foreign currency earners after tobacco.
“We have recorded a tremendous growth in cotton production. Many thanks go to the Presidential Inputs Scheme. Export revenue grew from US$4.5 million to around US$85 million 2017/18. Cotton is expecting to bring at least US$67 million as export revenue in the current marketing season-ending 31 March 2022.’’
The coming in of the Presidential Cotton Inputs Scheme saw COTTCO resuscitating the production of the cash crop in areas which include Mutoko, Mutare, Masvingo and Buhera, while breaking new ground in Matabeleland.