ABN - Cotton production in Zimbabwe has increased by 150% this year, principally driven by a government free input support programme which was implemented after a disappointing final yield in 2016.
Official statistics from the Agriculture and Marketing Authority (AMA) revealed that cotton output increased to 70,000 tonnes, up from 28,000 tonnes last year, the country’s lowest figure since 1992.
However, production of the commodity nicknamed the ‘white gold’ has been boosted by the Presidential Input Scheme, which saw over 155,000 farmers return to work.
Under the scheme, the government injected in excess of US$42 million into the cotton industry via the Cotton Company of Zimbabwe, and also scaled up $60 million of financial support this year.
Barnabas George, a farmer in Gokwe said: “Cotton is a dominant commercial commodity in Gokwe and the collapse of the industry had thrown thousands of families in poverty.
“The impact of this programme on the livelihoods of people is so huge. Farmers have managed to upgrade their homes, buy cattle; some even cars, animal drawn ploughs and parents are paying school fees.”