Cotton farmers across the country have started preparing for the marketing season with the harvesting of the white gold having started in earnest, an official has said.
Cotton Producers and Marketers Association’s chairman Mr Stewart Mubonderi said they were looking forward to the new producer prices recently set by Government.
“The Presidential Free Cotton Inputs Scheme Programme has once again started to yield more good results for the over 400 000 indigenous farmers. These (farmers) have benefited from the initiative in the last four seasons,” said Mr Mubonderi.
He said they are targeting at producing over 200 000 tonnes of the white gold in the current cropping season.
“Our target is to produce over 200 000 tonnes of cotton this season. You will note that we were disturbed by rainfall unreliability which caused serious crop failure.
“We had to replant the crop to cover for poor germination, but despite all that we had a successful farming season.
“We have started picking the early ripe crop, ginners are already distributing woolpacks to farmers. This is a clear sign of the commencement of the marketing season which farmers were looking forward to,” said Mr Mubonderi.
He said the recent producer price announced by Government was a good encouragement for them to increase their output from the fields.
He said it was worth noting that following decades of speculation, the farmers were getting into the fields with the zeal to produce more based on Government’s support.
Mr Mubonderi said it was sad to note that some merchants were abandoning their contracted farmers, especially where the provision of pesticides was involved.
“Farmers had to struggle during the whole crop development process and now that it’s harvesting time they are coming back.
“This is the epicentre of side marketing. They want to reap where they did not sow. There is need for farmers and the police to be on the guard against these unscrupulous characters,” he said.