Munyaradzi Musiiwa Midlands Correspondent
Gokwe South is expected to harvest over $20 million worth of cotton this season, an official has said.
In an interview yesterday, Minister of State for Midlands Provincial Affairs Cde Jason Machaya, said farmers who had abandoned cotton during previous seasons, have taken up the crop after Government announced the producer price .
Minister Machaya said the cotton growing town had surpassed its targets and farmers that had abandoned the “white gold” and other crops such as groundnuts and maize had migrated back to cotton.
Government disbursed cotton inputs under the Presidential Cotton Free Inputs through Cottco and 6 000 tonnes of cotton seed and adequate basal fertiliser were distributed, which is enough to cover 300 000 hectares targeted in the summer cropping season.
Minister Machaya said Gokwe South was going to be transformed for the better by cotton this season.
“Most cotton farmers had for the past few years abandoned the crop saying that the pricing structure was not favourable for them. Cotton production in Gokwe dropped drastically. However, this season, I’m informed that over $20 million will be circulating in Gokwe South alone from the cotton sales.
I am also pleased to inform you that all the farmers who benefited from the Presidential Cotton Free Inputs have promised to deliver their produce to Government,” he said.
Minister Machaya said Government would seriously monitor the farmers to ensure that there was no side marketing.
The low cotton pricing regime, which the sector experienced in recent years, saw just under 30 000 tonnes of cotton being realised this season according to Government statistics.
This is the lowest the country has experienced where 43 643 hectares were put under the cotton last season compared to 74 446 hectares planted during the 2014/15 farming season.