Presidential Free Cotton Input Scheme Rescues 6.3K Households from Poverty in Guruve
Brian Rungano Temba
GURUVE – At least 6 306 thousand cotton farmers in Guruve contracted under the Presidential Cotton Input Scheme will smile all the way to the bank as government will now pay 85 percent of their money in hard currency.
The latest development is part of government’s initiatives to revive the cotton farming industry across the country as part of a drive to attain an upper-middle-income economy by 2030.
The Presidential Free Cotton Inputs Scheme has stood out as one of the most empowerment initiatives by the Government, aimed at supporting countryside communities.
The scheme, which is administered by the Cotton Company of Zimbabwe (Cottco) has seen an average of 400 000 households receiving free inputs, including seed, fertiliser, and chemicals annually.
This marketing season, Cottco has raised the producer price to US$0.46 per kilogram for the highest grade whilst US$0.42 per kg will be paid for the lowest grade.
The greater part of the money will be paid in United States Dollars whilst 15 percent will be in local currency.
Guruve Cottco Area Manager Mr James Mutanda said there will be no delays in the payment of these funds to farmers.
“Guruve Cottco Depot is ready to receive Cotton from farmers. Wool packs for packing cotton and picking bags are now in stock and awaiting collection by farmers
“Unlike in previous years where Cottco used to delay payments to farmers, every farmer that marketed the crop with Cottco last season was paid,” he said, adding that previous farmers were being paid instantly.
At 6306 households were contracted under the scheme this season compared to 4800 previously in Guruve.
Forty-five group leaders were given bicycles to monitor the crop which is now at the ball formation stage with harvesting expected around mid-May,
The bicycles assist leaders in visiting cotton farmers to establish challenges which the farmers might be facing – which they communicate to agronomists.
“The early Input distribution became an advantage as the crop was not affected by leaching in comparison to other crops.
“Every Input required in Cotton growing was provided courtesy of the New Dispensation. The contract between farmers and Cottco is of its own type where the farmers are not expected to repay anything for the inputs supplied.
“The farmers are providing nothing more than their labour only,” said Mr Mutanda.
He said that the program has the capacity to empower every rural household whose soil supports cotton farming in the country.