Cotton inputs distribution 86pc complete

Jan 19, 2023

COTTON contractors have heeded growing calls for them to honour their contractual obligations in full amid revelations that they had distributed 86 percent of this season’s inputs to farmers as at January 9 with the process expected to end this month.

Agricultural Marketing Authority (AMA) director agribusiness, Mr Jonathan Mukuruba revealed this in an interview yesterday.

“Cotton contracting companies have been distributing inputs to farmers and have achieved a global 86 percent of their cumulative set target hectarage. Individual contractors have achieved different success rates with Zimbabwe Cotton Consortium leading at 122 percent followed by Cottco at 101.

“Input distribution to farmers is ongoing as contractors broaden their reach to those areas that might not have been covered. We will have the complete records when the planting period ends later this month,” said Mr Mukuruba.

In the weekly summer season report dated January 9, Agricultural Advisory and Rural Development Services (AARDS) chief director, Professor Jiri revealed that contractors had distributed inputs to 389 092 growers covering 333 286ha.

All contractors had given farmers seed and basal fertiliser with Cottco adding lime in the package. The contractors set a target hectarage of 387 293 and as at January 9, inputs covering 333 286ha had been distributed to farmers.

Farmers are still to plant 134 656ha of their contracted area as only 198 630ha had been planted.

Cotton Producers and Marketers Association chairman Mr Stewart Mubonderi confirmed that most farmers had received their inputs and planted.

“Most farmers have received their inputs and the majority have finished planting, with the exception of Mwenezi and Chiredzi areas, which receive rains late and the subsequent late end to the season. Some of the farmers still planting received their inputs late while others did not have adequate manpower to finish planting on time.

“Extension workers from both Government and contractors are currently on the ground assessing the crop situation to enable disbursement of chemicals and top-dressing fertiliser,” said Mr Mubonderi.

Mr Mubonderi further indicated that the cotton crop in all the areas was encouraging, as a result of the rains that are pounding the country.

Meanwhile, Cotton Ginners Association (CGA) acting chairman, Mr Caos Nzenze said though they had set a target of 100 000ha, this was likely going to be surpassed due to the zeal among farmers, thanks to the foreign currency paid to farmers last season.

“Planting of cotton is ongoing nationwide and we are likely to overshoot our initial target, as there are many farmers who have joined the business this season. We have since written to AMA requesting for an extension on the submission of the farmer database to enable all those who received inputs to plant.

As the country only managed 56 million kilogrammes of seed cotton last season and a disappointing average yield of less than 300 kilogrammes per hectare, AARDS has encouraged farmers to practise good agronomic practices in order to increase productivity and production.

Farmers are being encouraged to apply the right type and quantity of fertiliser at the appropriate time and placement (the 4Rs) to keep the vital nutrients in the field for improved production, productivity and profitability.

*This story is from the Zimpapers Agric News and was written by Edgar Vhera-Agriculture Specialist Writer

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