Fungai Lupande Mashonaland Central Bureau
The Cotton Company of Zimbabwe (Cottco) last week hosted a celebration party for Mushumbi cotton farmers following a good harvest of 7 000 tonnes in Mbire district, which contributed to the national production to 127 000 tonnes.
Guest of honour, Minister of State for Mashonaland Central Provincial Affairs Senator Monica Mavhunga, applauded Cottco for maintaining the traditional practice of holding celebrations after successful harvests.
“We have seen an increase in cotton production since the launch of the Presidential Inputs Scheme,” she said.
“The national production increased from 10 800 to 54 000 tonnes, but now we are at 127 000 tonnes.
“We urge other companies to stop side marketing, reaping where they did not sow, we encourage them to invest in the industry. The Ministry of Lands, Agriculture, Climate, Water and Rural Resettlement will engage Agriculture Marketing Authority (AMA) on the issue.”
Cottco managing director Mr Pius Manamike said they were impressed by the increased cotton production in Mbire district.
“We found a high-breed cotton seed from India two years ago and the tests we conducted produced some good results of 120 balls per plant,” he said.
“This gives a farmer a yield of 11 to 20 tonnes per hectare, with the current cotton price of $1,95, a farmer gets $24 000.
“The country experienced drought during the previous farming season, but when a farmer sets aside a piece of land for cotton farming he gets a starting point.
“Cotton is selling at $1,95 per kilogramme and when you have a 200kg bale you get $390. Of the $390, you get US$10 at the prevailing exchange rate, you receive $150 in cash and the remaining will be deposited in your mobile phones.
Mr Manamike said cotton farmers had an advantage in that the inputs under the Presidential Inputs Support Scheme were free.
“You are not required to pay for transportation or any other cost,” he said. “Shun corruption and report people who demand payment from you. During the cotton farming season we employ 4 500, creating employment in line with Government’s 2030 agenda.”