Emmah Chinyamutangira Post Correspondent
COTTON deliveries have this season increased in Manicaland following Government’s announcement to make part of the payment in foreign currency, Cotton Marketers Association has said.
This season farmers have surpassed last year’s deliveries with nearly 35 000 tonnes having already reached the depots in Manicaland.
Government announced that it will pay 20 percent of the total payment in foreign currency.
Cotton Marketers Association chairman Mr Steward Mubonderi said cotton farmers have the potential to deliver up to 70 000.
Mr Mubonderi said they were overwhelmed by responses from farmers in Manicaland as deliveries increased by 20 000 tonnes this season.
“Manicaland has the potential to produce over 100 000 tonnes of the white gold in the next season,” he said.
“We have received cotton from Chipinge, Rusape, Buhera and other parts in Mutare while the number of farmers who have embarked on cotton farming has increased. Cotton farmers who used to plant one hectare are now planting three hectares.
“Eventually farmers responded positively to the recent commitment by Government that they will be paid party of their money in foreign currency, by planting more cotton whose volume has been constantly growing. The country needs foreign currency and cotton farmers have a solution. The country needs cooking oil, margarine, stock feeds and more employment opportunities,” he said.
Mr Mubonderi said they will work extra hard as cotton farmers to increase production and earn more foreign currency through exporting by-products.
The Government’s Presidential Free Cotton Inputs Scheme has gone a long way in helping marginalised farmers who were faced with high costs of inputs and low producer prices while their yields were also being affected climate change.
“Most farmers have already started preparations for the cropping season and we look forward to increased productivity.
‘‘We are also encouraging farmers to plant cotton early,” said Mr Mubonderi.
He however, bemoaned poor communication networks in some parts of the province saying it was affecting farmers when coming to receiving their payments.
“However there is no network in some areas in Chipinge. Government is still working on installing boosters in all areas to ensure that all farmers have access to network so that they receive their money on time through mobile payment and use it accordingly,” he said.