Southern Cotton, which is wholly owned by Zimbabweans has introduced new cotton varieties amidst declining numbers of people growing the crop. The varieties, May 505 and May 344 are believed to have the potential to double yields relative to current seed varieties.
Southern Cotton operations manager, Mr. Kudakwashe Mabonga said:
The two varieties can produce between 5000 and 6000 kg of cotton per every hectare, compared to the 1500 kg to 2000kgs that current seed varieties produce.
As financers of cotton, we heeded the call by local farmers that a labour-intensive pursuit like cotton farming was no longer lucrative, especially with the low yields per hectare, and there was need for us to help farmers by developing a variety that would bring better yields, hence our smart partnership with K2 in our synergy, birthing these two new varieties.
Challenges particularly drought, poor funding and pricing experienced by farmers in the current and previous seasons have demoralised a number of farmers who were now contemplating ditching the crop.
However, Cotton Company of Zimbabwe revealed that Zimbabwe’s cotton deliveries reached 100 000 tonnes in 2018 surpassing 2017’s national output of 74 000 tonnes. The country once reached a record high of 352 000 tonnes of cotton in 2013.
More: The Sunday Mail