Thursday, March 27, 2014
Latest: Farmers sell inputs
December 17, 2013
Some cotton farmers are selling inputs they received from contractors in order to buy food, the Cotton Council has established. The council received reports from Chiredzi, Muzarabani and Gokwe. Council spokesman Mr Garikayi Msika said the council has received several reports that some cotton growers in drought stricken areas were selling fertilisers to get cash to buy food.
“We are aware of the current food shortages but selling inputs is not the solution. Some farmers have a tendency of diverting inputs either to other crops or for sale and this has been affecting crop production for a long time,” Mr Msika said. He said farmers received cotton inputs last month and since then planting has been taking place.
“Planting is underway in most cotton growing areas. We cannot determine the total hectarage planted so far as we are still assessing. It is difficult to tell the hectarage planted using the amount of seed distributed as this will distort the actual situation on the ground,” he said.
Zimbabwe Commercial Farmers Union president Mr Wonder Chabikwa said farmers in Chiredzi and Chisumbanje usually do not use fertilisers and were not necessarily selling them to buy food.
“These farmers usually produce the crop without using fertiliser. This season we demanded that contractors distribute adequate fertilisers to farmers to ensure high yields and viability of the crop,” he said.
Mr Chabikwa urged the culprits to desist from such practices.
“Farmers should apply the fertilisers to get the intended yield of 1 200kg per hectare. Currently farmers are getting between 500 and 700kg per hectare and this is not viable,” he said. He said farmers’ leaders have held several meetings with cotton growers on the matter. If this practice continues it would further affect cotton production which has dropped by 48 percent due to low prices.
Most traditional cotton growers have switched to tobacco and groundnuts due to low pricing.