Lawrence Chitumba Correspondent
Cottco is set to introduce a new seed variety as it seeks to ramp up production from 140 000 tonnes to 504 000 tonnes per year and generate US$2 billion in revenue from next year, the Deputy Minister of Lands, Agriculture, Climate and Rural Resettlement Cde Douglas Karoro has said.
The development comes as farmers are preparing for the start of the 2019 selling season following the recent announcement of a new producer price of RTGS$1,95 by the Government.
Speaking at a field day in Muzarabani recently, Cde Karoro said Government is committed to the success of cotton growers and will continue supporting them under the Presidential Inputs Support SCheme despite the drought that the country experienced this farming season.
“The initiative by Cottco will improve the livelihoods of cotton farmers and everyone in the cotton industry. We did our computations with its managing director and we discovered that through the new hybrid seed Zimbabwe can earn $2 billion from US$ 100 million that it is getting at the moment,” he said.
“As Government we know there was a drought and we had given farmers agricultural inputs and we are expecting them to repay, but we appreciate that the drought was not of their making, so the President told me to tell the people of Muzarabani and all other cotton growing farmers that the agriculture input scheme is going to continue because we want to uplift the peoples’ livelihood.”
Speaking at the same occasion, Cottco managing director Mr Pious Manamike said despite the drought experienced this season, the hybrid seeds had improved yields to an average of 10 000 kilograms per hectare from around 200 kg per hectare.
The Cotton Producers and Marketers Association of Zimbabwe bemoaned the conduct of the Agriculture Marketing Authority of Zimbabwe for delaying inspections of farmer’s bales and inclusion of non-existent farmers on its database of cotton growers.