Cotton production has received a major boost with launch of hybrid varieties that will increase yields to between three and five tonnes per hectare, a significant improvement from current output.
The release of the four new high yielding varieties is significant as production is yet to reach optimum levels despite improving in the last few years, noted Dr Dumisani Kutwayo, a director in the Ministry of Lands, Agriculture and Rural Resettlement department of research and specialist services.
“Government is trying to increase cotton production as you are aware there is a programme of provision of inputs to farmers so if these varieties are introduced on the market they will provide a wide range of selection of technologies and this will augment the existing varieties, so it’s a shot in the arm for cotton production,” he said.
Quton Seed Company executive director Mr Edworks Mhandu said the four cotton hybrids are very high yielding and they have good fibre properties which will boost output.
“The benefits to the farmers are that they will be able to achieve higher yields than the current varieties, so you know very well that in Zimbabwe our farmers are used to maize hybrids, they are innovative and are among the first in Africa to adopt hybrids in the form of maize, and technology adoption in Zimbabwe being that high, we are also confident that these hybrids will be well received by the farmers,” noted Mr Mhandu..
Government is revitalising the cotton sector after introducing a three year input financing scheme.
Last year, 1.8 million households received cotton inputs under the Presidential Inputs Scheme.