Elita Chikwati Senior Agriculture Reporter
Cotton inputs for the 2017-18 Presidential Inputs Scheme have been dispatched to various Cottco depots across the country and are ready for collection by farmers.
The inputs are set to benefit 400 000 households, with each household getting an allocation for one hectare.
Cotton will be produced in areas that include parts of Manicaland, parts of Mashonaland Central, Mashonaland West, Mashonaland East, Masvingo, Matabeleland South and Midlands.
- Presidential inputs scheme to expand scope
- $60m boost for cotton producers
- Presidential scheme boosts cotton production
- Govt distributes cotton inputs
Agriculture Mechanisation and Irrigation Development Minister Dr Joseph Made yesterday confirmed that the cotton inputs were already at Cottco depots.
“The 2017-18 agricultural season will again be supported by the Presidential Inputs Scheme. The inputs include maize, small grains, sorghum, finger millet inputs for 1,8 million households.
“The Presidential Soya Bean Input Scheme will also be added to maize and small grains and will be given to 1,8 million households,” he said.
Dr Made said this Scheme was going to ensure every household under the small holder categories was going to participate in food and cash crop production which was a strategic signal in terms of the Presidential Inputs at the backdrop of a successful 2016-17 season.
“Cottco has been given the authority to start distributing the inputs to cotton farmers. The cotton input scheme is strong and robust to enhance capacity for communal, old resettlement, A1 and small scale farmers. Under the Presidential Inputs Scheme, no family will receive inputs exceeding one hectare because we want all farmers who want to produce cotton to be given a chance.
“Every household in the cotton producing area must have an opportunity to produce the cash crop if they wish.
“Later on the same households are also going to benefit from the Livestock, Fisheries and Wildlife programme,” he said.
Dr Made said soya bean inputs will soon be distributed under the Presidential Inputs Scheme.
“The advantage of soya bean is that it will assist small holder farmers enhancing nitrogen fixing. In our crop husbandry across the country we want to help the small holder farmers have a crop that assists both on agronomy and economically,” he said.
Soya bean is strategic because of its value. Products from soya bean include edible oil, soya chunks, soya milk and soya cake for livestock sector.
Dr Made said the Ministry of Agriculture will be working in conjunction with various ministries on soya bean production including that of Small and Medium Enterprises and Co-operative Development, Youth, Indigenisation and Economic Empowerment and Higher and Tertiary Education, Science and Technology Development.
“The crop gives an opportunity for women and rural people to create employment and support the industry. We expect seed houses and equipment manufactures to be prepared for this big programme,” he said.
There is also going to be a fruit tree programme that will be jointly undertaken by the Ministry of Agriculture, Mechanisation and Irrigation Development and the Ministry of Environment, Water and Climate Change.
To enhance the rainfall aspect, the Ministries of Agriculture and Environment are preparing proposals that will enable the Ministry of Finance and Economic Development to consider the development of 200 hectares of irrigation per district.
“We should be mindful of the fact that the success of agriculture is premised on good rainfall. The development of the 200 hectares for irrigation per district under the Public Sector Investment Programme is part of Government efforts to ensure we secure agriculture,” Dr Made said.