Tuesday, April 27, 2010

China Set to Provide Technical Expertise for Cotton Growers

China set to provide technical expertise for cotton growers

Agriculture Reporter

China has said it is exploring ways in which it can partner Zimbabwe in producing quality cotton for export.

Chinese companies will extend technical advice to local cotton growers under the proposed arrangement.

Beijing’s Ambassador in Harare Xin Shunkang and representatives from the China National Textile and Apparel Council yesterday briefed Agriculture, Mechanisation and Irrigation Development Minister Joseph Made on their proposals.

The Chinese company will train farmers so that they achieve increased, quality yields.

"We want to assist cotton growers in managing their cotton crop to get high quality yields per unit area. China offers a huge market for cotton and has a big textile industry. After field visits in different cotton growing areas, we realised the potential for farmers to improve production.

"That is why we have come up with a long strategic plan of five to 15 years," Ambassador Xin said.

Minister Made responded: "China has expressed interest in expanding the number of technical people who will look at cotton production to increase yield as well as hectarages and maintaining and improving quality.

"Now we want to increase the area under cotton from one to 1,5 million hectares which should give us between 600 to one million tonnes of cotton lint."

Minister Made added: "We also would want to see A2 and A1 farmers considering cotton production to complement the communal farmers who currently are producing between 85 and 90 percent of the crop."

Apart from Zimbabwe, China also imports cotton from the United States, Egypt, Sudan and Australia.

Zimbabwe’s cotton production has been on the decline over the past few years due to shortages of affordable inputs and prices that farmers say are unattractive.

Many cotton growers have switched to tobacco because of its monetary returns.

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