Contractors boost cotton output

Chipinge South National Assembly representative Cde Enock Porusingazi (Zanu-PF) and communal farmers in Checheche have hailed private contractors for supporting small-scale producers in the 2016/2017 season.

The legislator said Parrogate Zimbabwe was complementing Government’s efforts to assist farmers produce cotton in the Lowveld.

Last year, Government availed US$42 million to support 400 000 communal farmers with seed, pesticides, herbicides and fertilisers.

Cotton production has been on a downward trend in recent years from 84 000 tonnes in 2015 to 30 000 tonnes in 2016.

To boost production, Parrogate Zimbabwe weighed in with inputs for thousands of contracted farmers in Vheneka, Machona, and the Chitepo area.

Cde Porusingazi said, “We have hundreds of farmers who have been dealing with Parrogate Zimbabwe in Chipinge South and we are happy with the support being given by the company and other private players. Contract farming is important in that it assists those who cannot finance their finance projects.

“There has been talk of Parrogate not supplying adequate inputs but that’s not true because according to my assessment farmers are satisfied with the services rendered by private players. In fact, Parrogate set-up a ginnery plant in Checheche which created employment for hundreds of people. The ginnery also plays a part in value addition and this is in support of Zim-Asset which emphasizes the need for value addition.”

One of the farmers, Mr Timothy Gwenzi, said he had been contracted by Parrogate since 2003 and had not experienced any problems when dealing with the firm.

“I managed to plant two hectares of cotton after receiving inputs from Parrogate. Everything is going on smoothly; we are not experiencing any problems with contract farming,” he said.

Mr Joseph Njanji of Checheche echoed the same sentiments, saying without contract farming he would not be in business.

“I joined contract farming in 2003 and since then, I don’t have any complaints. I am just concentrating on producing cotton,” he said.

According to the Agricultural Marketing Authority, cotton is largely funded through contract production.

Some of the other contractors who have been actively involved in cotton farming are Cottco, Olam, Alliance, Sinotex, China Africa and Grafax.

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