Zimbabwean farmers likely to miss the 180,000-tonne cotton output target

YarnsandFibers News Bureau 2014-01-11 11:15:00 – HARARE

The Zimbabwean government targeting to increase cotton output from 140,000 tonnes last year to 180,000 tonnes this cropping season expecting increase in local demand, Zimbabwean news agency New Ziana reported.

Strategies for reviving the textile industry and value addition and financing from the banking sector are expected to boost local demand for cotton and production.

However, Zimbabwe may fail to meet its target of producing 180,000 tonnes of cotton this year due to shortage of agricultural inputs and late onset of rains, an official said Friday.

Zimbabwe Commercial Farmers Union vice president Johnson Mapira said that farmers had faced several challenges including failure to access subsidized agricultural inputs.

The late onset of rains might affect the target because farmers could not plant on time. First rains were erratic and some replanting had to be done.

Contracting firms should give inputs early to farmers because at times they came late so reaching the target is impossible, he said.

Mapira said that planting of cotton is still underway in some growing areas due to late rains. However, he is optimistic on meeting the target since farmers are still planting.

Mapira also said that irrigation is another area they think investment is needed. They need to install irrigation infrastructure for farmers to stop relying on rains, so that when they do not get rains they irrigate and when it rains it becomes supplementary.

Due to the unviable prices offered by local merchants in the previous season, cotton growing land in Zimbabwe declined from 450,000 hectares in the 2011/12 season to 241,849 hectares in 2012/13 as fewer farmers grew the crop.

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