THE extension of the Presidential Pfumvudza/Intwasa programme, which has improved livelihoods of over 500 000 rural households, and created over 4 000 jobs is this year expected to earn the country US$60 million in foreign currency from cotton.
Last year President Mnangagwa extended the Pfumvudza/Intwasa scheme to include cotton as part of accelerating rural modernisation and industrialisation.
This is in line with the Second Republic thrust of modernising the country’s pivotal agriculture sector vis-à-vis enhancing production and productivity in line with the Agriculture and Food Systems Transformation Strategy, which seeks to achieve a US$8,2 billion agriculture economy by 2025.
Under the climate-proofed farming programme every farmer received inputs for free as part of steps towards realising Vision 2030.
As part of improving earnings in rural areas, the Second Republic is also providing subsidies to farmers on top of inputs, drilling boreholes, and setting up industries to arrest rural-urban migration.
In a report on the Presidential Cotton Inputs Scheme, covering 2016 to 2022, the Cotton Company of Zimbabwe Limited said thousands of households have been added to the programme.
Before the advent of the New Dispensation, the scheme used to benefit around 155 000 households in support of the Government’s poverty alleviation strategy but has now grown in leaps and bounds to benefit over 500 000 households due to the introduction of Pfumvudza/Intwasa specifically for the white gold.
The extension of the popular Pfumvudza/Intwasa programme has also seen capacity utilisation in the sector shooting from 10 percent in 2016 to 100 percent this year as output from farmers.
“Seed cotton production volumes increased from 10 800mt in 2016 to 116 053mt in 2020/21 season, a growth of 975 percent.
“Operating capacity utilization also grew from 10 percent to 100 percent, Cottco is now outsourcing ginning from other ginners with idle capacity on a toll ginning arrangement”.
Although the Cotton Presidential Inputs Scheme started in 2016 it has gradually peaked from 10 800mt (2016) to around 116 053mt in 2020/2021 season.
“This has resulted in export revenue growing from US$4,5 million to around US$85 million in 2017/18 season, Cottco is expecting to bring at least US$60 million as export revenue in the current marketing season-ending March 31, 2022”.
Apart from earning the country foreign currency and improving lives of millions of people, the revival of cotton production under the Second Republic has also created 4 900 jobs per season from less than 1000 employees before the dawn of the Second Republic led by President Mnangagwa.
“The Presidential Scheme is also benefiting many stakeholders in the value chain including the textile industry, cooking oil industry, transport industry, local authorities, Government departments, suppliers in different categories, retail industry, and many other stakeholders.
“More than 2,5 million people benefit directly or indirectly from cotton production every year in Zimbabwe,” read the report in part.