Cot­ton farm­ers smile all the way to the bank

The Manica Post - - Farming/business - Sa­muel Kadun­gure Se­nior Re­porter

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.”

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