Cotton farmers smile all the way to the bank
COTTON yield in Manicaland for the 2016-17 season is expected to surpass 30 000 tonnes, whose financial spinoffs will trickle in the pockets of women who constitute the bulk of growers in the province.
An estimated 20 037 hectares were put under cotton in Manicaland with Chipinge accounting for 18 366ha, Mutare 564ha, Mutasa 30.8ha, Nyanga 844ha and Buhera 232.4ha. Statistics from Makoni were not readily available.
10 738 farmers planted cotton in the province, with Buhera having 64 farmers, of which 49 are men and 15 women; Chipinge 8 796, of which 4 811 are men and 3 985 are women; Mutare had 561, 199 men and 362 women; Mutasa had 24 men and 43 women and Nyanga had 1300 - 743 females and 557 males.
Acting Agritex head for Manicaland Mrs Phillipa Rwambiwa said the average yield was a tonne per hectare.
Cotton growers are experiencing a boon as prices are firming between 42 and 55 cents per kilogramme. Mrs Rwambiwa said about 90 percent of cotton production was funded through the Presidential Inputs Scheme. She said growers who benefited from the Government scheme were expected to sell the white gold to Cottco.
However, there are other companies that are causing chaos by stealing the crop whose production was sponsored by Government — through side marketing.
“The yield is very good, and farmers are still picking and selling. The price ranges between 42 and 55 cents. We are happy with the take up of cotton production by females. The majority of the crop was funded through the Presidential Inputs Scheme, and we hope more women and youths will join this lucrative sector next season. There are indications that the take up and hecterage can double next season as Government and the private sector have come up with a number of strategies to revive cotton production.”