Wednesday, December 05, 2012

More Farmers Shun Cotton Production in Zimbabwe

More farmers shun cotton production

Friday, 23 November 2012 00:00
Agriculture Reporter

Cotton growers in Mashonaland West have resorted to growing soyabean and maize after a bad 2012 marketing season. Cotton fetched low prices of US$0,35 cents per kg, resulting in many producers making huge losses.

The farmers said they had “better soils and had no reason sticking to a crop that impoverished us”.

Chinhoyi farmer, Mrs Betty Gatsvaire said she produced cotton last season and had more than 50 bales, but did not get meaningful returns.

“I had high hopes last season and when we were planting with the companies promising us prices of US$1,50 per kg and upwards, but this was not the case when we sold the crop,” she said.

Mrs Gatsvaira said she had to hold on to her crop in protest, but had to eventually sell when she heard the prices were further falling down to US$0,25 cents per kg.

“I was so hurt because I grew up producing cotton and had been sending my children to school using the profits, but this time the situation was so bad that I do not want to plant cotton again,” she said.

Hurungwe farmer, Mr Elliot Dzapasi said he would not grow cotton this year.

Agritex officer Mr Prosper Mhondiwa said cotton companies were sending agents to scout for farmers, but most growers were not willing to produce the crop this season.

He said the farmers in his area were also diversifying to growing other crops under conservation farming.

“This season we have demonstration plots where we are producing maize, sugarbeans, soyabeans and groundnuts under conservation farming,” he said.

Mr Mhondiwa said the concept if adopted and practiced well will increase farmers yields and reduce production costs.

Zimbabwe Farmers Union second vice president, Mr Berean Mukwende advised farmers to be careful when signing contracts with companies.

“By now farmers should have planted cotton but by now they have not received inputs.

“This means even if they plant, they will get low yields,” he said.

The refusal by most traditional cotton growers to produce the crop this season may lead to shortages of the commodity.

This may also affect the cotton industry, which employs thousands of people.

No comments: