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Zimbabwe projected to achieve record cotton output

HARARE, (The Southern African Times) – Zimbabwe is expected to exceed an initial projection of 150,000 tonnes of cotton produced this season making it the highest such yield in five years.

According to a report by the state-owned Herald newspaper, the high yield is as a result of increased inputs subsidies and favourable rains.

Last week, Cottco, a company which controls 90 percent of the country’s market, estimated that its own intake from farmers this year is to rise by 82 percent to 150,000 tonnes from 83,000 tonnes a year ago.

Cottco manages the Presidential Inputs Scheme which is meant to expand cotton production and assist rural and vulnerable families. Under the scheme, farmers receive free inputs such as seed, fertilisers and agro chemicals.

“We expect output to surpass 150 000 tonnes this year; we will probably hit 170,000 tonnes with the other volumes coming from private players,” the Heraldreported quoting senior industry officials who wished to remain anonymous.

As at the end of June, Cottco had purchased about 57,000 tonnes of cotton, 38 percent of its intake target.

The company is planning to implement the use of high-yielding varieties on a larger scale next season to improve volumes and viability.

This season, the Zimbabwean government is expected to pay close to $3.5 billion in subsidies to cotton farmers. According to Information minister Monica Mutsvangwa, who spoke after a Cabinet briefing last week, outstanding payments were being made.

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