Man­i­ca­land to dou­ble cot­ton pro­duc­tion

The Manica Post - - Front Page - Sa­muel Kadun­gure and Free­dom Mu­tanda

MAN­I­CA­LAND is set to dou­ble its cot­ton pro­duc­tion for next sea­son – as the cur­rent record crop, un­prece­dented high prices and in­creased Gov­ern­ment sup­port – have set cot­ton grow­ers who had aban­doned the crop out of frus­tra­tion on a come­back. Deputy Min­is­ter for Agri­cul­ture, Mech­nani­sa­tion and Ir­ri­ga­tion Devel­op­ment (Crops), Cde Dav­i­son Mara­pira, last week told hun­dreds of ex­ist­ing and new cot­ton farm­ers in Checheche that cot­ton sup­port for next sea­son will dou­ble to $ 84 mil­lion.

MAN­I­CA­LAND is set to dou­ble its cot­ton pro­duc­tion for next sea­son – as the cur­rent record crop, un­prece­dented high prices and in­creased Gov­ern­ment sup­port – have set cot­ton grow­ers who had aban­doned the crop out of frus­tra­tion on a come­back.

Deputy Min­is­ter for Agri­cul­ture, Mech­nani­sa­tion and Ir­ri­ga­tion Devel­op­ment (Crops), Cde Dav­i­son Mara­pira, last week told hun­dreds of ex­ist­ing and new cot­ton farm­ers in Checheche that cot­ton sup­port for next sea­son will dou­ble to $84 mil­lion.

The move will see ex­ist­ing farm­ers in­creas­ing their hec­tarage and grow­ers that had aban­doned the crop, turn­ing their land into cot­ton fields, hop­ing that the un­prece­dented high prices will stretch to next sea­son. Cot­ton farm­ers in the province are en­joy­ing a record crop and the high re­turns from the white gold.

About 20 037 hectares were put un­der cot­ton in Man­i­ca­land and the yield for the 2016-17 sea­son is ex­pected to sur­pass 30 000 tonnes.

About 90 per­cent of the crop was funded through the Pres­i­den­tial In­puts Scheme, which has been dou­bled from $42m to $84m.

“Gov­ern­ment spent $42 mil­lion on cot­ton pro­duc­tion and we are dou­bling that sup­port in form of in­put sup­port for the 2017/18 sea­son. We are also ex­pect­ing the hec­tarage to in­crease from about 155 000ha to more than 300 000ha.

“Our farm­ers in Man­i­ca­land did us proud dur­ing the 2016/17 sea­son and we ex­pect you to up your game next sea­son. We want to thank you for a job well done and we be­lieve you can still do more by im­prov­ing on the quan­tity and qual­ity of the pro­duce,” Cde Mara­pira, adding that farm­ers should earnestly pre­pare for the com­ing sea­son and en­sure an­other bumper har­vest.

“We ex­pect a bumper har­vest in Man­i­ca­land. We ex­pect you to pro­duce bet­ter than last sea­son. Gov­ern­ment is demon­strat­ing its faith in you by dou­bling cot­ton sup­port for the 2017-18 sea­son,” said Cde Mara­pira.

Cde Mara­pira urged cot­ton grow­ers to de­stroy cot­ton stalks from their field to avoid a carryover of dis­eases and pests to next sea­son.

Most fields are still in­fested with the crop residue and re-growths which act as hosts for dis­eases and pests like ne­ma­todes and spi­der mites.

De­struc­tion of stalks - ei­ther by cut­ting the stems and plough­ing or disk­ing the fields to pull roots out of the soil and ex­pose them to the sun - starves and averts carryover of pests and dis­ease into the next farm­ing sea­son.

Slash­ing cot­ton stalks and spray­ing the sub­se­quent re-growth with glyphos­phate was ef­fec­tive, but many farm­ers com­plain that it is ex­pen­sive.

“After har­vest­ing your cot­ton, it is im­por­tant to de­stroy the left­over stalks for op­ti­mum use of the field in the forth­com­ing sea­son. Some farm­ers think it is eco­nom­i­cal to let the pre­vi­ous sea­son’s cot­ton re­main in the field. They think that in the fol­low­ing sea­son they will sim­ply spray and weed the field. Nothing is fur­ther from the truth be­cause dis­eases and pests hi­ber­nate in the fields, re­sult­ing in re­sis­tance to pes­ti­cides and the gen­eral de­cline in cot­ton yields in the com­ing sea­son,’’ said Cde Mara­pira.

Mr Skum­buzo Thond­lana, the na­tional trea­surer for the Na­tional Cot­ton Farm­ers As­so­ci­a­tion, hailed the Pres­i­den­tial In­puts Scheme, adding through such sup­port, Man­i­ca­land would be able to im­prove pro­duc­tiv­ity and qual­ity of the lint.

“The en­thu­si­asm is there. Ex­ist­ing cot­ton farm­ers are rar­ing to go, and new and re­turn­ing ones are reg­is­ter­ing and show­ing com­mit­ment. Def­i­nitely the Lowveld farm­ers will dou­ble or triple the 20 000 planted by 8 796 farm­ers last sea­son.

“Gov­ern­ment has set us (cot­ton farm­ers) on a horse and we can­not fail to ride. Our ap­peal is that ad­e­quate in­puts, that is seed, fer­tiliser and chem­i­cals be availed on time, not in drips, so that farm­ers con­cen­trate on pro­duc­tion,” said Mr Thond­lana, adding that cot­ton farm­ing was a trade bench­marked by es­ca­lat­ing de­mands for high qual­ity lint to get bet­ter re­turns on their in­vest­ment.

“Pres­i­dent Mu­gabe will avail in­puts un­der the Pres­i­den­tial In­puts Pro­gramme and cot­ton farm­ers are the ben­e­fi­cia­ries. Farm­ers must im­prove their agro­nomic prac­tices. They should com­ply with the stalk de­struc­tion di­rec­tive be­cause dis­ease re­sis­tance em­anates from non-com­pli­ance with de­stroy­ing the pre­vi­ous sea­son stalks,’’ he said. Mr David Makuyana, said they were happy with the sup­port un­der the Pres­i­den­tial In­puts Scheme, and called for the set up for gin­ner­ies in the district to add value for the crop.

Deputy Min­is­ter for Agri­cul­ture, Mech­a­ni­sa­tion and Ir­ri­ga­tion Devel­op­ment (Crops), Cde Dav­i­son Mara­pira (right( ad­dresses farm­ers in Checheche last Fri­day

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from Zimbabwe

© PressReader. All rights reserved.