The partnership between the Agriculture and Rural Development Authority (ARDA) and Cotton Company of Zimbabwe (Cottco) is bearing fruit following the planting of 117 hectares of the white gold in Muzarabani.
Cotton is expected to play a key role in the turnaround of ARDA as evidenced in Muzarabani, as revealed by Minister of Lands, Agriculture, Fisheries, Water and Rural Resettlement Dr Anxious Masuka.
The minister was this Saturday touring ARDA Muzarabani Estate.
“So, we think ARDA now is on a turnaround journey. We want ARDA to become the food feed and fibre example of the country in terms of production.
“We are also pleased farmers took heed of government’s call to grow cotton even though they haven’t been paid the balance of last year’s dues and government is ceased with mobilising necessary resources to enable them to be paid as expeditiously as is humanly possible,” said the minister.
Muzarabani legislator, who is also Minister of Energy and Power Development Honourable Zhemu Soda, commended the partnership for creating employment in the area.
“There will be employment here. Already I’ve seen people working at this farm and I’m very impressed. Certainly, we’ll see increased intake at our local ginnery so I’m impressed about this partnership between COTTCO and ARDA,” he said.
Meanwhile, the newly appointed Cottco Board toured Muzarabani ginnery and surrounding cotton farms, with Board Chairperson Mr Sifelani Jabangwe committing to ensuring the company becomes self-reliant in the next three years.
“The long-term objective which is the mandate of this particular board is to ensure Cottco becomes a viable enterprise which is self-sustaining and paying farmers which is the objective over the next three years.
“Objectives for the last periods going to this year had been reviving production from low output of 28 metric tonnes to about 300 metric tonnes and having achieved that we are at a level were cotton can be sustainable,” said Jabangwe.
Mr Jabangwe said significant growth is expected in cotton output this season given the good rains and impact of the presidential free inputs scheme.