|New farmer gets bumper cotton harvest|
|Saturday, 02 June 2012 20:36|
Farming ReporterThe deputy officer commanding Bulawayo West police district Superintendent Dario Mapiye has urged farmers in the Matabeleland region to grow cotton following a good yield from his pilot project in Umguza.
Sup Mapiye is a beneficiary of eight hectares in Matabeleland North province’s prime farming area of Umguza district under Government’s land reform programme aimed at distributing land equally among the majority.
Speaking at his field day last Thursday, the law enforcer said he has set sight on increasing hectares to grow cotton next year.
The field day was attended by officials from the cotton buying company, Cottco, members of the force and farmers from surrounding areas.
“I grew a hectare of cotton because I thought I should not put my eggs in one basket.
“This was after I had put three hectares under maize and it did not do well as I only realised three bags (270 kilogrammes) because of poor rains thus I opted to crop a drought resistant crop in the form of cotton.
"Although germination wasn’t 100 percent because of insufficient moisture I anticipate getting three and a half tonnes instead of the anticipated four tonnes. I am, however, encouraging farmers from this part of the country to grow cotton so as to realise meaningful earnings from their farming enterprises. Since this was more of a trial I intend to increase the hectares under cotton to three while also practising conservation farming," Sup Mapiye said.
He applauded Government’s recent decision of declaring cotton a controlled product making it the sole buyer of the crop.
“We applaud Government’s decision of declaring itself as the sole buyer of cotton as impasse of prices over the years had greatly affected most farmers.
“We are, however, calling on Government to announce the producer price way before harvesting because farming is a business and any delay in announcing the price will discourage farmers.
“We are also calling on Government and contracting companies to assist cotton farmers in the provision of inputs such as chemicals and seed as cotton farming is capital intensive,” Sup Mapiye said.