Cotton Company of Zimbabwe (Cottco) chairman Dr. Abraham Babs Nyoni says his board will focus more on further improving cotton productivity to sustain higher yields.
He said good cotton quality would also be the priority of his board.
After peaking at 352 000 tonnes in 2011, output declined to 28 000 tonnes three years later, the lowest yield in nearly two decades partly due to lack of adequate funding and poor prices, which resulted in many farmers abandoning cotton production.
With the coming in of the Presidential Inputs Scheme, coupled with renewed interests by private players to finance the crop, who last year financed about 30 percent of production, the sector has recorded a significant recovery.
In light of climate change, some farmers are also increasing acreage of the crop which is generally less waster intensive.
“Over the years, you noted that cotton production had actually gone down,” said Dr Nyoni in an interview after a board familiarisation tour of Karoi depot, Mashonaland West Province yesterday.
The board had on the previous day toured the Chinhoyi ginnery in the same province to get first hand appreciation of the situation obtaining in these areas.
“So our first strategic direction is to increase productivity and quality of our product. We are excited that it is something that the management has to a certain extent achieve and we would want to improve on that.
“The growing of cotton needs to be expanded and we would also like to adopt varieties that give us better yields,” Dr Nyoni added.
Chinhoyi business unit covers Zvimba, Hurungwe and Makonde districts. Cotton production in the province had significantly slumped to the extent that a number of depots had been closed.
“The efforts that we have put in place are paying dividends.
“We have been so aggressive in mobilising farmers in Mashonaland West,” Cottco acting managing director Mr Pious Manamike said in a separate interview.
He said projected output in the province would be about 11 000 tonnes this season, an increase from 3 600 tonnes a year earlier.
Established hectarage was 27 000, up from 19 000 hectares in the previous season.
A number of farmers were also contracted for commercial production, which Cottco introduced last year to boost output.
Dr Nyoni said the company would look at value addition projects such as oil extraction to increase revenue streams.
“Value addition is also a priority to increase revenue for the company,” said Dr Nyoni adding that alternative funding for cotton, other than the Presidential Inputs scheme would be looked into.
This year, cotton production is estimated at 101 000 tonnes, an increase of 32 percent from 77 000 tonnes produced last year, according to the Second Round Crop and Livestock Assessment Report.
This was due to increased coverage of the Presidential Inputs Scheme. The scheme was introduced in 2015 after Government moved in to revive cotton industry.
There are thousands of families that survive on cotton growing mainly in some hot parts of the country.