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Govt committed to cotton farming

Government says it is committed to reviving the cotton sector, which had been negatively affected by high production costs and low prices.

Lands, Agriculture and Rural Resettlement Deputy Minister Davis Marapira, said this in Glendale, Mazowe District, last week while officially launching new cotton hybrid seeds produced by Quton Seed Company.

The hybrids are; Mahyco C571, Mahyco C567 and Mahyco C608.

Deputy Minister Marapira said despite cotton being one of the major foreign currency earners in the country, its production had been reduced in the past due to high production costs and low producer prices paid by ginners. This forced most farmers to abandon the crop and move to tobacco and maize, which fetch more on the market

Said Deputy Minister Marapira: “Let me assure you that Government remains committed to reviving the cotton sub-sector and has through various interventions such as the Presidential Inputs Programme, distributed 8 000 tonnes of cotton seed to 400 000 farmers across the country.”

Apart from inputs, Government has also indicated willingness to offer competitive prices to farmers to ensure viability. This year, Government is expecting a huge jump in cotton production. But reports suggest that some companies that did not finance the crop, are already luring farmers to sell their crop to them. Illegal cotton buyers offer cash to farmers on the spot.

Meanwhile, the launch of the new cotton hybrids indicates Quton’s new partnership with its major investor, Mahyco.

Mahyco is an agricultural firm based in India

Quton executive director Edworks Mhandu, told The Herald Business the hybrids will help boost yields and improve the livelihoods of cotton growers countrywide.

“Our varieties are of high quality and high-yielding. Our cotton seeds are bred to increase the grower’s profit per unit of land. These new varieties are tangible examples of Quton’s continuing commitment to the growth of the cotton sector and the country as a whole,” he added.

In addition to high yields, the new varieties have primary characteristics and traits, which include boll size (6.0g to 6.3g), resistance to bacterial blight and drought tolerance. The enhanced activity against bollworm decreases the likelihood of needing additional applications to control worm pests. The varieties also have an early maturity and superior yield potential of 4 000kg and 5 500kg per hectare.

Mr Mhandu said investment in agricultural research is at the heart of Quton’s structural transformation to produce high yielding cotton seed varieties that give high yields and drive sustainable growth.

“The cotton field trials we are involved in here and in Malawi, demonstrate our firm commitment to strengthening our cotton breeding programmes as well as promoting the country’s efforts to grow the economy, diversify exports, enhance value addition and increase the competitiveness of our crop,” said Mhandu.

Quton is a long-standing partner of the Government of Zimbabwe and is one of Africa’s leading cotton seed producers.

source: the herald

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