By Tawanda Mangoma
Private players in the cotton industry are complimenting Government’s Presidential Inputs Scheme by giving support to growers, helping create jobs and adding value to the crop in line with the country’s economic aspirations, a legislator has said.
Chipinge South Member of Parliament Cde Enock Porusingazi commended ETG Parrogate, a private firm operating in his constituency mainly in Checheche for the work it is doing.
Cde Porusingazi’s comments came in the wake of reports that there was a conflict of interest between the private company and the Government sponsored Presidential Inputs Scheme in the Lowveld.
He said although some private cotton companies which were active in Checheche had since folded their operations, Parrogate was still doing a sterling job in advancing the growing of cotton in the area.
“I am happy with the efforts being made by Parrogate, a private entity and Cottco, which is 100 percent owned by Government, towards reviving the glory of Checheche (in cotton production), which was now fading,” said Cde Porusingazi.
“I have heard reports that some areas were inaccessible due to the rains and farmers have failed to get their chemicals for spraying on time, but we are particularly grateful to Parrogate for maintaining their investment in Checheche as it creates employment and value addition at local level.
“We used to have companies such as Tarafen, Cargil, Sino Zim and FSI, but they have since pulled out.”
ETG Parrogate’s head of business Mr Jonas Chindanya said in an interview yesterday, that they were in fact, complimenting the Presidential Inputs Scheme and were not competitors to Government efforts.
Mr Chindanya said his company provided a complete package to farmers whom it contracted for this season’s crop.
He said there had been some logistical problems in delivering the inputs to the farmers due to the heavy rains received this season.
“As far as we are concerned, our contracted farmers are very happy and are looking forward to a very good harvest this season,” said Mr Chindanya.
“We have a 25 000-tonne capacity ginnery here in Checheche and an oil crushing plant at the same site since 2004. We cannot abandon financing cotton in this area given the level of investment we have put in.”
Mr Chindanya said the only challenge they faced this season was the late delivery of inputs in certain areas, which were inaccessible due to the heavy rains.
“Our inputs are given in tranches depending on the growing stages of the crop and this is in line with the Cotton Research Institute’s windows for crop chemical application,” he said.
Mr Chindanya said there was an unprecedented increase in the demand for chemicals due to the increase in the number of sprays as the Lowveld continued to receive the rains.
“Demand for chemicals drastically increased last month,” he said. “We, however, discovered that farmers were now using chemicals meant for cotton for other crops such as maize since they faced an outbreak of fall armyworm which had invaded their fields,” he said.