Mashonaland West Bureau
REMOTE areas will be the first to receive inputs from Cotton Company of Zimbabwe under the Presidential Cotton Inputs Scheme, before rains render roads impassable.
Government has set a target of 400 000 tonnes of cotton for the coming season.
Distribution of inputs and relief aid by Government and organisations have been hit in the past by poor road networks.
In a move to ensure the participation of marginalised farmers in the programme, a decision was made to deliver the inputs to these areas first before the country received heavy rains.
Cotton Marketers and Growers Association of Zimbabwe national chairman Stewart Mubonderi confirmed the development.
“The distribution of Presidential Cotton Inputs has not yet started, but 45 percent of the inputs required by Cottco to cover Mashonaland West have so far been availed to depots and buying points,” he said.
“Low-lying and inaccessible areas, like Kenzamba in Makonde district and Siakobvu and Makande in Kariba district, will get inputs first.”
Mr Mubonderi noted the interest shown by farmers in all the parts of the province to grow cotton, including in Mhondoro-Ngezi and Zvimba districts.
Cottco managing director, Mr Pius Manamike, said distribution of inputs to depots and buying points had begun.
“We have already started the distribution, but I do not have the figures at the moment because we have been facing power challenges since Sunday,” he said.
Meanwhile, preparations for the summer crop in Mashonaland West have started on a high note, with close to 280 000 plots now ready for the Pfumvudza programme.
The province has set a target of 325 000 household plots for grains, with 8 000 plots earmarked for sorghum production and 65 000 for oilseeds.
Farmers seem happy with the Government’s preparedness in the distribution of this year’s inputs, but complain of the way some officials were requesting bribes.
Mashonaland West Agritex agronomist Ms Siyena Makaza said farmers across the province were still accessing inputs under Pfumvudza and warned officials against requesting money from farmers.
Land preparations under the same programme were above 70 percent complete.
“Households that successfully prepared their land for Pfumvudza are currently receiving inputs,” said Ms Makaza.
“I am yet to receive reports from the districts to ascertain the number of people that have benefited so far.
“However, we urge officials to desist from corruption, including the illegal selling and distribution of the inputs as the long arm of the law will catch up with them.”
Ms Makaza said vetting and distribution of inputs to contracted farmers under the Command Agriculture Programme progressed smoothly at CBZ bank.
“At least 10 000 hectares out of more than 14 000 hectares that were under winter wheat have been harvested and farmers are now going ahead with land preparations,” she said.
“Although we are yet to quantify the actual hectares of land prepared across the province, we envisage farmers meeting the target.”