Conrad Mupesa in MHANGURA
THE revival of cotton farming through the Presidential Cotton Input Support Scheme will create thousands of jobs in the cotton industry and related fields, experts said yesterday. Cotton farming which had taken a dip for a number of years due to low world prices witnessed the closure of various ginneries and textile industries thereby affecting downstream industries, like farming itself.
In an interview, Zimbabwe Cotton Growers and Marketers Association chairman Mr Stewart Mubonderi said the revival of cotton farming by President Mugabe was in line with the ZimAsset blueprint which seeks to create employment and has given a new lease of life to farmers.
“Since the Zim-Asset blueprint emphasises job creation and the President’s hand in trying to revive cotton farming serves as one way of supporting the blueprint as thousands of jobs from informal to formal sector will be created. A lot of farmers especially in areas like Mashonaland West where other crops can be grown opted to grow tobacco as a cash crop since cotton prices had slumped. The abandonment affected downstream industries and many families were affected hence the President has subsidized farmers by availing a minimum of one hectare package for free. All they need to do to revive other industries is to grow the crop and sell it back to Cottco,” Mr Mubonderi said.
As a way of creating economic empowerment, President Mugabe initiated cotton input support scheme aimed at boosting cotton production where farmers are offered free inputs through Cotton Company of Zimbabwe (Cottco). In a separate interview, Head of Operations at Cottco Zimbabwe Mr Maxmore Njanji said there would be a gradual increase in the creation of employment in cotton and related industries as the nation expects to grow more than 250 000 tonnes of cotton from 60 000 tonnes produced last year.
“The increase in the Presidential Cotton Input funds from last year’s allocation means production is expected to correspondingly increase. This means an increased labour force in all cotton related industries,” he said. On the other hand Cottco Chinhoyi depot manager Mr George Kata said the subsequent increase in the number of inputs distribution points had seen more people getting employed.
“In Mhangura alone, more than ten points have been established this year from last year’s one point. In essence these points will also serve as our buying point next year and this means we will have an increase in the number of people working in the distribution of inputs and buying of cotton,” he said.