COTTON farming in Manicaland has almost doubled following a rise in the uptake of inputs by farmers under the Presidential Inputs Support Scheme.
Nearly 11 000 hectares of land have been put under cotton this season compared to 6 000ha planted last season.
Manicaland provincial agronomist Mr Thomas Sakuhuni said the timely distribution of inputs to farmers had resulted in increased production.
He said Manicaland had the potential to increase cotton production this season, but the late onset of rains was the major drawback.
“Government support has resulted in more hectarage and uptake of cotton farming by farmers in Manicaland,” he said. “We are even anticipating a higher yield of cotton this season as we have already experienced timely distribution of inputs under the Presidential Cotton Inputs Scheme in July.
Mr Sakuhuni said the Presidential Free Cotton Inputs Scheme helped marginalised farmers who were faced with high costs of inputs and low producer prices.
Farmers were receiving fertilisers, chemicals, herbicides and cotton seed under the programme.
Mr Sakuhuni said they were still assisting farmers in controlling pests, as well as managing the crop.
“We continue training cotton farmers on best practices and measure to control pests such as aphids and ball worms during this period,” he said.