By admin       2017-12-21

Government support for cotton growers has seen demand for inputs rise and increased farmers’ interest in the crop. According to players in the sector, enquiries for inputs continue to increase as farmers now view “white gold” as a viable alternative. Farmers in areas like Guruve are opting for cotton following the prolonged dry spell. Zimbabwe Cotton Growers and Marketers Association chairman Mr Stewart Mubonderi said demand for inputs was high from farmers in Kachuta, Nyandoro and other areas in Guruve District. “A lot of farmers in the upper areas of Guruve District, including Kachuta and Nyandoro, have requested that they be included in the Presidential Cotton Input Support Scheme as they have not benefited enough in the first distribution. The dry spell has also increased demand as farmers feel they need to put dry weather resistant crops,” he said. Mr Mubonderi said some farmers failed to benefit under Command Agriculture and switched to cotton farming. This has resulted in increased demand for cotton inputs. About 75 to 80 percent of farmers in Kachuta and Nyandoro areas who had registered for Command Agriculture failed to access inputs. They have since requested to be included in the cotton input scheme. There is concern over selling of inputs by farmers working in collusion with Cotton Company of Zimbabwe (Cottco) officials in Mbire District. These are said to be selling fertiliser and chemicals they were allocated under the Presidential Cotton Input Support Scheme. “We have since engaged Cottco head office and Guruve Criminal Investigation Department to conduct investigations into the matter. So far, more than eight tonnes of Compound D fertilisers and a tonne of top dressing fertilisers have been recovered. The inputs were found at Guruve business centre and in Mvurwi town,” said Mr Mubonderi. Efforts to get a comment from Mr Maxmore Njani, head of operations at Cottco Zimbabwe, were fruitless. Mr Mubonderi urged farmers to desist from selling or diverting inputs, saying they risked being jailed. Government in July this year gazetted Statutory Instrument 79 of 2017 prohibiting the selling or exchanging of inputs acquired under Command Agriculture and the Presidential Inputs Support Scheme

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