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Friday, July 19, 2024

Cotton production on upward trajectory countrywide

Story by Tamuka Charakupa

Cotton production is set to surpass the 150 000 metric tonnes mark this year after the success of the Pfumvudza/ Intwasa programme which saw cotton farmers receive free inputs.

The Munepasi community of Chipinge South has also benefitted from the programme, recording a surge in cotton production in the area.

A farmer told the ZBC News, “We are grateful to the government for availing us with free tillage, free inputs and technical support because we had neglected cotton farming due to limited resources.”

“As farmers, we have been struggling to fund our own cotton production. So, the coming on board of the government’s Pfumvudza programme has transformed our area. We have increased the size of our fields because tillage is being availed for free,” said another farmer.

Chipinge South legislator, Honourable Enock Porusingazi said, “We are happy with the price structure because it has matched other sectors like tobacco, where they get a United States dollar component. We are now earning a decent living out of our labour.”

Cotton Company of Zimbabwe chief executive officer, Mr Munyaradzi Chikasha says the state-owned enterprise is targeting to increase cotton production countrywide, through growing its contracted farmers base from 300 000 to 500 000 next year.

“The number of cotton farmers has been growing steadily over the years and this year, 360 224 farmers grew cotton countrywide and the expected yield this season is 150 000 metric tonnes. Cotton will remain Zimbabwe’s priority crop and is a significant crop in the Zimbabwean economy. Approximately 2 million households derive their livelihoods from the white gold,” he noted.

The Deputy Minister of Lands, Agriculture, Fisheries, Water and Rural Development, Honourable Vangelis Haritatos urged farmers to complement government efforts by implementing good agricultural practices.

“Manicaland is among the eight provinces in Zimbabwe that has a conducive environment for cotton production. Cotton farming thrives in areas such as Checheche, Birchenough, Murambinda and Nyamaropa. It is our hope that despite the challenges being imposed by climate change, cotton production will continue to thrive in this region. In mitigating climate change, whose adverse effects are affecting all sectors, particularly agriculture, Government introduced climate-proof agriculture methods which include Cotton Pfumvudza as alluded to earlier. This was done in an effort to improve production and productivity and ensure better farmer viability.

“It is government’s hope that the introduction of Cotton Pfumvudza will encourage more farmers to revert back to cotton production and thus increase economic activity in Checheche in particular and Manicaland province in general,” said the deputy minister.

Government is this year paying cotton farmers 85 per cent in forex and the remaining 15 per cent in local currency to promote the production of the white gold in the country.

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