Cotton farmers appeal for extension of marketing season

12 Aug, 2022 - 00:08 0 Views
Cotton farmers appeal for extension of marketing season

The Herald

Conrad Mupesa 

Mashonaland West Bureau 

Cotton farmers in Hurungwe and Makonde districts need the marketing season to be extended to the end of September as some are still to start harvesting because of the very late start to the rainy season in their area. 

Cottco is responding positively on a case-by-case basis and has said it will extend buying in those areas hit by a very late start to the rains. 

Normally good husbandry demands that all cotton stalks from the previous season are destroyed some weeks before the earliest planting of the new season to keep pests and disease under control.

While 46 million kilogrammes of seed cotton has been delivered to depots across the country, over 800 cotton farmers in Karoi under Hurungwe and Mhangura in Makonde district, who had a late crop due to delayed rains, are still to harvest their crop. 

Cold temperatures experienced in June and July also affected cotton production, with most farmers in affected areas expected to finish picking their cotton by end of September. 

The normal buying and selling season by Cottco of the crop closes around mid-August, and cotton farmers are under a legal obligation to destroy all stalks by mid-September to prevent disease carry over to the next season. 

Cotton farmers in the two affected areas have been put in a quandary. 

Mr Isdore Mugwagwa of Buttervend Farm in Karoi, whose 5ha of cotton is yet to split, is optimistic of delivering 35 bales after harvesting but needs an extension of the buying season. 

“All farmers in the area are still to harvest and we hope by September 20, we would have harvested it all. We are imploring the Government to extend the buying season to mid-September as we received rains late. 

“We are afraid of losing the cotton if we choose to store it at home should the buying season closes before we harvest,” said the farmer who now needs the introduction of a commercial cotton input scheme. 

Mr Mugwagwa who also co-ordinates various farmers in his area also needs the Government input schemes to increase fertiliser allocations since insufficient fertiliser contributed to late splitting of the balls. 

Another farmer, Mr Musara Chambuzha from the same area, concurred with Mr Mugwagwa adding that they planted their crop early January due to erratic rainfall. 

“Most farmers here planted around January and will only be able to finish harvesting by September. We want to contribute to our nation’s cotton seed demand hence we plead with Cottco and Government to avail inputs early,” said the farmer who expects to deliver 10 bales this year from two hectares. 

Last year, he delivered at least 80 bales from 5ha. 

Mhangura farmer Mrs Enireta Chabikwa also pleaded for an extension of the buying and selling season. 

Cottco Karoi central manager Mr Washington Marongwe, who hopes rising temperatures would help cotton balls to split, said at least 500 farmers from Buttervend, Woodlands and Rufaro among others were still to start harvesting. 

 Cottco chief accounting officer, Mr Munyaradzi Chikasha gave farmers a reprieve saying an extension would be given to areas that were specifically affected by late rains.

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