The Cotton Company of Zimbabwe (Cottco) has started giving out sprays to half of the 70 000 farmers that grew the crop amid revelations that government provided inputs worth $42 million for the 2016/17 season.
BY BUSINESS REPORTER
Cottco said planting seed and basal fertiliser have already been disbursed to the farmers, while the disbursement of top fertiliser, pesticides and herbicides was in progress.
In a statement last week, Cottco’s acting managing director, Pius Manamike said the company had 50 000 litres of herbicides that was being disbursed at the moment.
“Cottco have started to give out sprays to half of the farmers that grew the crop this year, which is 70 000 farmers and it has 50 000 litres of herbicides that is being disbursed at the moment. The Cotton Company of Zimbabwe has disbursed 6 000 tonnes of seed, which is equivalent to 300 000 tonnes of cotton,” he said.
This year, 150 000 farmers planted the crop in cotton growing areas including Gokwe, Chiredzi and Muzarabani.
The company is projecting an average minimum intake of 110 000 tonnes.
Manamike said each cotton farmer planted an average of two hectares up from the quarter hectare planted last year.
This has seen the hectarage increasing by 50% to 300 000 hectares from 200 000 hectares recorded last year.
Manamike said the availability of the seed this year was better and in time compared to last year, a situation, which has helped in the establishment of the crop.
“Most of the cotton growing areas have established the crop with the Midlands province having the highest cotton plant in terms of establishment. The rains have made the establishment of the crop to be better than last year and the government input scheme will revive the cotton sector,” he said.
Meanwhile, Cottco is paying price adjustments to farmers of 10 cents for the cotton crop for the 2015/6 season.
In the past three years, cotton has experienced a drop in output by over 79% forcing the clothing sector to rely more on cotton imports of over 50% in fabric requirements.
Cotton farmers cited high costs of production and low cotton prices of 30 cents per kg as the main reasons behind the drop in production.