Source: Farmers harvest 32 000 tonnes of cotton | The Financial Gazette September 27, 2016
ZIMBABWE’s cotton industry faces viability problems after production tumbled to 32 000 tonnes for the 2015/2016 agricultural season from 90 000 last year.
The 2016 Mid-Year Fiscal Policy statement showed that production for 2016 had declined from 90 000 tonnes to 32 000 tonnes despite government and private sector efforts to fund production.
Seed cotton production declined by 34 percent from 136 000 tonnes in the 2013/2014 season to 90 000 tonnes in the 2014/2015 season due to drought.
The 32 000 tonnes is far below the 60 000 tonnes harvested during the severe drought of 1991/92.
At peak production in 2012, small-scale farmers produced 350 703 tonnes of cotton, which translated to 143 788 tonnes of cotton lint, which earned the country over US$200 million.
Cotton was once Zimbabwe’s second largest export crop after tobacco. The crop is produced mainly by smallholder farmers that cultivate small plots of between one and two hectares under rain-fed conditions.
In preparation for the 2016/2017 season, government would support smallholder cotton growers with agriculture inputs to put 350 000 hectares under the supervised cotton production programme valued at US$36 million for the procurement of seed, fertiliser and chemicals.