This comes as the Government — through Cottco — has invested $42 million for the cotton inputs scheme. The disbursements of inputs is still ongoing.
Cottco acting managing director Mr Pius Manamike said: “The Cotton Company of Zimbabwe has disbursed 6 000 tonnes of seed which is equivalent to 300 000 tonnes of cotton, and we are projecting an average minimum intake of 110 000 tonnes,” he said.
The acting MD outlined the stages which the company was at in respect of implementing the $42 million cotton inputs scheme.
“Planting seed and basal fertiliser have already been disbursed to the farmers and the disbursement of top fertiliser, pesticides and herbicides is work in progress.
“Cottco has started to give out sprays to half of the farmers that grew the crop this year which is 70 000 farmers and it has 50 000 litres of herbicides that is being disbursed at the moment.
“This year 150 000 farmers planted cotton in cotton growing areas that include Gokwe, Chiredzi and Muzarabani,” he said.
According to official figures obtained so far, this year each farmer (of the 150 000) planted an average of two hectares while last year each farmer had an average of 0,25 of a hectare (or 25 percent of hectare).
Mr Manamike said the expected rise in cotton output this year is on the back of increased hectarage (with Midlands Province having the biggest cotton plant) due to availability of seed.
“Hectarage increased to 300 000 hectares from 200 000 hectares last year.
Availability of seed this year was better and fast compared to last year which has helped in the establishment of the crop.
Most of the cotton growing areas have established the crop with the Midlands Province having the highest cotton plant in terms of establishment.
The rains have made the establishment of the crop to be better than last year and the Government input scheme will revive the cotton sector.”
Meanwhile, the Cottco acting MD has said the company is now paying price adjustments to farmers of 10 cents for the cotton crop for the 2015 /16 season.
In prior years, declining cotton output locally was largely attributable to high production costs and low producer prices. — BH24.