A report on the Presidential Cotton Inputs Scheme, covering 2016 to 2022, recently produced by the Cotton Company of Zimbabwe Limited reveals that thousands of households have joined the cotton industry due to free cotton inputs being given to farmers by the Government.
According to the report, before the coming in of the new dispensation, the scheme used to benefit around 155 000 households in support of the Government`s poverty alleviation strategy but has since grown to benefit over 500 000 households especially after the introduction of the Pfumvudza/Intwasa programme.
The extension of the popular programme has also seen capacity utilisation in the sector shooting from 10 percent in 2016 to 100 percent this year and more than 4000 jobs are expected to be created.
In line with the Second Republic`s thrust of modernising the country`s pivotal agriculture sector in line with the Agriculture and Food Systems Transformation Strategy, which seeks to achieve a US$8.2 billion agriculture economy by 2025, President Emmerson Mnangagwa extended the Pfumvudza/Intwasa scheme to include cotton as part of accelerating rural modernisation and industrialisation.
“Seed cotton production volumes increased from 10 800mt in 2016 to 116 053mt in 2020/21 season, a growth of 975 percent. Operating capacity utilisation also grew from 10 percent to 100 percent, cotton is now outsourcing ginning from other ginners with idle capacity on a toll ginning arrangement. Although the Cotton Presidential Inputs Scheme started in 2016, it has gradually peaked from 10 800mt (2016) to around 116 053mt in 2020/2021 season.
“This has resulted in export revenue growing from US$4.5 million to around US$85 million in 2017/18 season, Cotton is expecting to bring at least US$60 million as export revenue in the current marketing season-ending March 31, 2022, reads part of the report”
Meanwhile, speaking to this publication recently, Cotton Producers and, Marketers Association Chairman, Mr Stewart Mubonderi revealed that the crop situation in most parts of the country was in a pleasing and encouraging state and soon they will release figures of this year`s expected tonnage. Mr Mubonderi thanked President Mnangagwa`s Government for availing another 8000tonnes of the cotton seed which farmers needed for replanting.