Government will avail approximately $36 million towards the cotton inputs support scheme for the 2016-2017 farming season as it seeks to achieve lint exports of 90 000 tonnes under the five-year Cotton to Clothing strategy.The Cotton to Clothing strategy was facilitated by the Ministry of Industry and Commerce in 2014 and is funded by the European Union.
This five-year strategy delivers a unifying roadmap with an ambitious set of targets, including a steep increase in yields to 1 200kg per hectare that will benefit 250 000 smallholders. The strategy also sets out to increase production of cotton lint to 450 000 tonnes per year, and for exports of textiles and garments to reach 90 000 by 2019, when the implementation of the strategy is expected to be complete.
“These targets which are certainly ambitious are achievable with a co-ordinated approach by all stakeholders,” said Association of Cotton Value Adders of Zimbabwe director Admire Masenda at a press conference to give an update for the Cotton to Clothing Indaba set for Friday in Harare.
To meet the targets, Government has promised to avail about $36 million for the cotton input scheme this season.
“This will be an improvement from about $24 million which was channelled towards cotton input scheme last year,”
He said despite the support being shown by Government, the issue of drought remains a challenge for most cotton farmers. Mr Masenda said the cotton inputs support scheme has played a major role in reviving cotton farming in the country.
Speaking at the same event, Minister of Industry and Commerce Mike Bimha added that there was need for farmer support considering that some farmers are now coming back to cotton farming.
“Much still has to be done to make sure the strategy is a success but we are hopeful that through Government support this season will be a better one,” said Minister Bimha.
The Cotton to Clothing Indaba will be officially opened by Minister Bimha.