Adopt Pfumvudza for increased yield – Cottco Deputy Minister of Lands, Agriculture, Climate and Rural Resettlement Vangelis Haritatos commended private players efforts in ensuring food security in the country.

Edgar Vhera Agriculture Specialist Writer

COTTON farmers have been called on to adopt the Pfumvudza concept (conservation agriculture) to increase yields and boost national output.

Cottco acting chief accounting officer Mr Munyaradzi Chikasha recently said this at a cotton field day held at Mr Lyben Sithole’s homestead in Munepasi Village of Ward 26 in Chipinge District.

“If farmers adopt the Pfumvudza concept we hope to increase the yield per unit area. The biggest challenge we have is that farmers are sometimes planting more than they are able to manage,” said Mr Chikasha.

The Pfumvudza concept allows farmers to practice the good agronomic practices of 4R (right seed, input, time and placement) for maximum growth.

Mr Chikasha said if farmers were to concentrate their efforts on a reasonable unit, they would get improved yields as Cottco targets to reach 120 million kilogrammes of seed cotton next year from the likely 100 kg million this year.

Lands, Agriculture, Fisheries, Water and Rural Development Deputy Minister Mr Vangelis Haritatos said Government introduced the Pfumvudza cotton concept to mitigate the negative effects of climate change and increase production and productivity.

“Pfumvudza cotton is an initiative by Government to boost production with farmers being cushioned by provision of inputs under the Presidential Input Scheme.

Cotton removes carbon emissions from the atmosphere as it sinks 150 times more carbon dioxide than it produces.

Conservation tillage practiced under Pfumvudza cotton further helps in carbon sequestration.

Dep Min Haritatos chronicled the journey of the host farmer who was producing 20 bales under conventional farming and had increased output to 200 bales.

He said better farmer viability and sustainability would encourage more farmers to venture into cotton production next season.

“The Government has upped dam construction for irrigation development. In the 2018/19 season four farmers started cotton production under irrigation and the number has since grown to 211,” added Mr Haritatos.

The host farmer, Mr Sithole, the Government for provision of inputs under the Presidential Input Scheme saying this had transformed his life for the better.

“I planted 20 hectares under dryland this season up from 15ha last season. I am expecting 350 bales and my average yield is around 16 bales per hectare,” said Mr Sithole.

Mr Sithole said he managed to electrify his homestead, has three grinding mills, built a large shed to store his crop and built a house in Harare.

He is now offering employment to about 30 people who pick cotton.

Cotton is a lucrative and economical viable crop that provides livelihoods to over two million households.

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