By admin       2017-11-22

Prince Sunduzani, Business Reporter MATABELELAND region is set to mobilise about 20 000 farmers to grow cotton this summer cropping season under the Presidential Input Support Scheme. In Zimbabwe, cotton is largely grown in Mashonaland West, the Midlands and Mashonaland East and Mashonaland Central provinces. The inputs under the scheme are expected to benet 400 000 household across the country. In an interview yesterday, Matabeleland North Agritex provincial ocer Mr Dumisani Nyoni said the Government has this year under the Presidential Input Support Scheme set aside over 20 tonnes of cotton seed for the province. This comes after some farmers in cotton-growing areas in the country had abandoned producing the crop as prices had plunged to as low as 30 cents per kilogramme. “Government is distributing free inputs and we want to increase the area put under cotton. “We have long started mobilising farmers in Matabeleland North and so far the uptake is good. It is unfortunate that I cannot give you the number of farmers that we have right now but we will be having that information next week,” he said. “At the moment some farmers are taking a wait and see approach but in areas such as Nkayi, Binga and Lupane where cotton farming had not stopped, farmers are registering.” Mr Nyoni said cotton was this year expected to be grown in all the province’s seven districts with each registered farmer set to secure 20kg cotton seed. He said farmer education was underway to ensure good farming practices. “Increased cotton farming will give ginning capacity, create jobs and substitute importation of cotton thereby contributing positively to our economy. We have trained extension sta who are going out and training farmers on cotton farming,” said Mr Nyoni Zimbabwe’s cotton industry is regaining momentum with farmers, particularly in areas that had long abandoned the crop, slowly returning to production of the white gold Through the Presidential Input Scheme, which helps farmers with free inputs, areas that had stopped growing cotton have resumed production. Cottco, which is administering the programme, is expanding the scheme to also include farmers in non-traditional cotton growing areas and those that had stopped growing the crop. The expansion of the free inputs programme follows a successful season, which saw cotton production nanced under the scheme growing by more than 400 percent to 55 000 tonnes.

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