AGRICULTURE concern, Southern Cotton is set to contract cotton growers to the tune of $30 million in the 2018/19 farming season up from $5 million in the previous season, the company’s Chief Executive Officer, Caos Nzenze has said.
Cotton is one of the country’s major foreign currency earners in the agriculture sector after tobacco and sugar.
Nzenze said the investment will be spread over 80 000 hectares in various cotton growing areas in the country.
“We have quadrupled our hectarage from 20 000 last year as we target new cotton growing areas we didn’t cover last year in our endeavor to increase yield for the export market,” he said.
“We are targeting yield of over 800 kilograms per hectare which will give us a total yield of over 64 000 metric tons of seed cotton.
“About $30 million will be invested this season. The money will cover provision of inputs, tillage services and provision of agronomic services”
Some of the areas the company is targeting in the coming season include Chiredzi,Zaka, Rutenga, Middle Sabi,Gokwe South, Nembudziya, Mutoko, Centenary,Sanyati and Murewa.
He said the company was responding to government’s call for more investment in the country.
“We appreciate support we have received from government to date and we need more support to curb side marketing of cotton,” Nzenze said.
He said preparations for the 2018/19 cropping season were underway.
“In terms of the upcoming season preparations are underway as distribution of inputs such as fertilizer and seed is ongoing,”Nzenze said.
He said the future of cotton production was bright as investment in the sector continues to grow in recent years despite a closure of some companies during the hyper-inflationary era around 2008.
Cotton is largely grown in the drier parts of the country as the crop is drought resistant. The crop is a source of livelihood for over 250 000 thousand household in the country and the number is set to increase as more companies are venturing in cotton contract farming as well as the inclusion of cotton under the Presidential Inputs Support Scheme.
Southern Cotton is an indigenous company incorporated in 2010. ENDS