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Zimbabwe steps up support to cotton farmers
Jan '15
The Zimbabwean Government has stepped up support to its cotton farmers in this season, with an aim to improve yields and quality.

According to minister of agriculture, Joseph Made, the Government has increased support to cotton farmers in a bid to hike yields and quality.

The Government is distributing seed, fertilisers and pesticides to 350,000 farmers and the exercise is under way, the minister said.

Over the past few years, the Government, which has set a target of 300,000 hectares for the 2015-16 season, is supporting farmers through the Presidential Input Scheme, the Herald reported.

He added, "We are moving with speed because we would want all seed to be planted before end of January and even if the acreage is slightly below that of last season, the quality will be good this season."

In 2013-14, Zimbabwe recorded its lowest level cotton output in four years, as farmers shifted from cotton production to better paying crops such as tobacco.

Cotton output fell 6.2 per cent to 136 million kg in 2013-14 from 145 million kg a season earlier and also massively down from 350 million kg in 2011-12, according to Cotton Ginners Association.

Minister Made admitted the Government's shortcomings on monitoring the sector and said now the government would keep an eye on the industry to restore viability.

The Government was also engaging Russians and Chinese to invest into the sector to improve viability. (AR)

Fibre2fashion News Desk - India

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