The Cotton Presidential input scheme has been launched in Gokwe amid indications that Cottco is targeting an output of eight thousand tonnes from Nembudziya only, with 19 thousand hectares set to be planted this season.
The 2019-2020 agricultural season has roared into life in most parts of the country following rains received in the last few weeks, cotton farmers in Gokwe had every reason to smile as presidential inputs reached their doorstep.
Thousands of people converged at Cottco depot in Nembudziya to receive their inputs with Cottco Business Development Manager for Sanyati Business Unit Crispen Gwavuya saying there is need for every household to put inputs to good use for the benefit of the economy.
“As Cottco, we cannot survive without the farmer if we remove leadership and farmers we cannot make it. Free Presidential input scheme means everything if for free from inputs to tillage. We are targeting eight thousand tonnes of cotton from the anticipated 19 thousand hectares we are targeting to plant this season. The perennial challenges of side marketing and selling of inputs are retrogressive as they push production backward and farmers must stop that practice forthwith,” he said.
Cotton Marketers Association Chairman Mr Stewart Mubonderi said there is need for farmers to be productive which is the only way to overcome the country’s economic challenges while Gokwe North Senator who is also women’s league national political commissar, Maybe Mbowa, said there is need for inputs beneficiaries to put them to good use and repay the faith the President has for communal farmers.
“Nembudziya has the highest number of presidential inputs received so far which the people should take pride on by ensuring there is high output. We must be thankful to the Honourable legislator who has been working tirelessly to ensure that inputs are availed on time for the season,” said Mubonderi.
“Let us work together to ensure that we generate foreign currency through the growing of cotton. We do not want to hear that people are selling their inputs, they must be utilised for the benefit of the nation,” said Mbowa.
Gokwe Nembudziya legislator Justice Mayor Wadyajena said inputs are not for politicians hence Cottco must be vigilant as they are political figures within the district who want to hijack the inputs scheme for self-aggrandisement.
“These inputs are not meant for politicians, which Cottco must guard against. We have heard stories about politicians trying to hijack the programme as they want all inputs for themselves, we say no to that. Inputs are for the people of Gokwe, not an individual whose interests are not known,” he said.
Wadyajena also noted that traditional leaders must be on the lookout to ensure that no one will sell the inputs.
“Anyone spotted selling presidential inputs must be punished heavily, the police must leave no stone unturned if they suspect trading of inputs, culprits must spend a long jail term if found guilty. We need to be productive on the land which is a way of fighting illegal sanctions imposed on the country by the West,” he said.
The presidential input scheme was initially meant to run for three years but government decided to extend it to ensure that households are assisted in pushing production.
“As you might be aware, I’m chairman of the portfolio committee on agriculture in parliament, we pushed for the extension of the presidential input scheme after realising that most of the farmers cannot afford the cost of inputs which might lead to starvation. So I need to see these inputs being put to good use,” said Wadyajena.
Cotton is one of the crops that generate foreign currency while also creating employment through the setting up of ginning centres.
This season, a new hybrid seed is being introduced which has the potential to double production output per hectare.