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Mohadi launches Presidential input scheme

by Staff reporter
27 Oct 2019 at 09:54hrs | Views
THE Government yesterday launched the 2019-2020 free Cottco Presidential Inputs and Tillage Scheme to benefit more than 400 000 households and two million rural people countrywide.

Vice-President Kembo Mohadi launched the programme, which also included grain farming inputs by GMB, in Lusulu where he said agriculture is central to Zimbabwe's economic development and achievement of the Government vision of an upper middle-income economy by 2030.

Under the scheme, each farmer will receive a 20kg bag of cotton seed, three bags of basal and top dressing fertiliser, a knapsack sprayer, different kinds of chemicals and empty bales, all given for free.

Those with bigger pieces of land will be assisted with tillage.

The scheme which encourages every farmer regardless of climatic region to grow at least one hectare of cotton, also includes free tillage and is the initiative of Cottco in partnership with Government.

Addressing hundreds of farmers from Lusulu at Cottco depot, VP Mohadi said Government had so far invested about US$180 million which has seen cotton production growing from 28 000 to 142 000 tonnes over the last four years.

He said the Government is committed to promotion of value addition on the crop to increase income from exports as cotton is one of the biggest foreign currency earners after tobacco in the agricultural sector.

"It's the Government's thrust to create a self-sufficient and food secure economy that will see the re-emergence of Zimbabwe as the breadbasket of southern Africa. The welfare of every citizen is our priority as we begin the walk towards 2030 and improved livelihoods at the community level are key to the inclusive growth pillar of the vision and this is critical in the Transitional Stabilisation Programme as conceived by President Mnangagwa that no one should be left behind," said VP Mohadi.

He said the Government started the Presidential Input Scheme following a slump in the cotton industry owing to destructive competition in the sector.

The Presidential Input Scheme was initially meant to last for three years but Government decided to extend it indefinitely due to benefits accruing to the nation, said VP Mohadi.

VP Mohadi said cotton is a strategic crop with huge foreign currency benefits.

"Supporting the communal farmer positively contributes to eradication of rural poverty, improves the peoples' livelihood and assures us of achieving common prosperity. Selecting Binga for this scheme is very commendable as this region is conducive for cotton farming. More importantly it will give locals an opportunity of making the much-needed extra income that will boost their disposable income," he said while urging people to take cotton farming seriously.

VP Mohadi who is a cattle rancher and citrus fruit farmer in Matabeleland South, said farming is a business that needs patience.

He challenged cotton farmers to sell to Cottco and avoid side marketers who have been blamed for the slump in the industry a few years ago as they fleeced farmers.

"I note with gratification that in addition to the free Presidential Inputs Scheme, Cottco has come up with a free tillage programme to assist those farmers with bigger hectares as well as those that have lost their cattle to drought and disease," said VP Mohadi.

Lusulu is Matabeleland North's prime farming area together with Umguza, but VP Mohadi bemoaned lack of a ginnery in Binga.

He said efforts will be made with Cottco to have the cotton processed in Lusulu instead of taking it to Gokwe.

Matabeleland North Provincial Affairs Minister Richard Moyo commended Lusulu farmers for carrying the province's food security.

Cottco managing director Mr Pious Manamike said they had engaged seed companies and secured a hybrid seed type from India with capacity to produce seven tonnes of cotton per hectare.

He said they target to have 20 000 cotton farmers and 20 000 hectares put under cotton in Binga alone.

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Source - sundaynews