|Water logging affects cotton crop|
|Friday, 25 January 2013 18:18|
Edmore MhangamiTHE adage, it never rains but pours, aptly describes the predicament of Gokwe cotton farmers.
Farmers in both Gokwe North and South were left counting their losses after the heavy rains that pounded their area affected the cotton crop.
The crop is said to have dried up as a result of the rains.
Only last year, the farmers felt robbed after cotton buyers offered them less money for their crop, raising fears that the farmers would boycott growing cotton this season.
Provincial Agritex Officer, Mr Peter Chamisa confirmed the disaster, which has befallen Gokwe cotton farmers.
“Water logging has caused cotton to dry up. Recently I was in areas like Nemangwe and Chitekete, where the results are catastrophic. We held a meeting to address the situation, but nothing has come out,” he said.
In an interview yesterday, Chief Nemangwe, who is a supervisor of cotton producers in the Midlands, said cotton farmers especially in Gokwe North and South were seriously affected by the state of their crop.
He said the cotton crop was promising around the Christmas period before the rains came.
Chief Nemangwe said the situation was so serious that the authorities have called for an emergency meeting to try and address the plight of the affected farmers. Most farmers get inputs like seed and chemicals on loan from cotton growing companies and are expected to repay after harvesting.
“The rains have left most cotton farmers in a tight situation. For the past three days, it has been raining continuously day and night. This has affected cotton, as it is a crop that does not need too much rain. The cotton has dried up with no signs of recovering. The situation is now haunting farmers, who borrowed inputs from companies such as Cottco and Grafat, among others. They now fear that they won't be able to pay back what they owe the companies. As a ward we have held a meeting to address the situation. We have decided to invite these companies so that they can witness the disaster that has befallen us. We also want to plead with them to reschedule to repayment of the loans,” said Chief Nemangwe.
Gokwe North and South are among the major cotton producing areas in the country.
Chief Nemangwe said the situation could have been worse were it not for the fact that many farmers decided not to grow the cash crop this year because they were disappointed by last year's producer prices.
Another member of the cotton producers' committee Chief Njelele described the situation as “catastrophic”.
He said as a committee they agreed to engage the cotton buyers to consider the farmers' plight.
“We have sent our representative, Chief Nemangwe, to engage the buyers, who gave credits to some of the farmers. We are appealing to them to be lenient.
“We are also appealing to them to increase the buying prices this year,” he said.