Zvamaida Murwira Senior Reporter
Government should extend the Presidential Inputs Support Scheme for cotton farmers beyond this season to allow them to recover from viability challenges that have plagued the industry in successive years, legislators heard. Cotton Company of Zimbabwe officials and cotton farmers told a Parliamentary Portfolio Committee on Lands, Agriculture and Resettlement in Muzarabani, Mashonaland Central Province on Thursday, that Government should extend the presidential input scheme under which farmers had been getting free inputs for the past three years.
The scheme for cotton farmers was supposed to end this season. Cottco managing director Mr Pious Manamike told the committee chaired by Gokwe Nembudziya MP Cde Justice Mayor Wadyajena (zanu-pf) that the cotton industry had not yet fully recovered for it to be weaned from Government assistance.
“The Presidential input scheme was supposed to run for three years and for the past two years it was a difficult for us as Cottco and it is only this season that we have begun to pick up the pieces,” he said. “It is our appeal that Government extend the scheme.”
Mr Manamike said the cotton industry received a battering for successive years, hence it would take longer for it to fully recover. He said one of the major challenge affecting big companies like Cottco was side-marketing by contracted farmers.