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HomeNewsCottco Takes Proactive Measures Amidst Drought Concerns

Cottco Takes Proactive Measures Amidst Drought Concerns

In the face of mounting concerns over the impact of drought on cotton production, Cottco, one of country’s leading cotton company, remains vigilant and proactive in addressing the challenges posed by erratic weather patterns.

In an exclusive interview with 263Chat, Cottco corporate Communications Manager Constance Makoni Thodhlana said assessments to ascertain the drought impact are underway across all cotton-growing areas.

“We are currently in the process of assessing the crop in all cotton growing areas and once that exercise is done, we will be in a position to tell the impact of the drought situation,” said Makoni-Thodhlana

Speaking on specific measures implemented to counteract the effects of drought on cotton cultivation, Makoni highlighted several initiatives undertaken by Cottco.

“During land preparation phase we managed to cover almost 69 000 hectares under the tillage programe, the ripping was done under this program to enhance the storage of moisture since there was the prediction of an El Nino. We also have crop under the climate proof Cotton Pfumbudza/Intwasa program. Further, during inputs distribution, we disbursed drought resistant indeterminant varieties such as SZ9314 to farmers,” she said

Asked about potential yield losses attributable to the drought and how they compare to previous years, Makoni reiterated that definitive assessments are pending completion.

Emirates

Addressing concerns regarding the quality of cotton amidst drought conditions, Makoni highlighted the importance of timely harvesting and adherence to quality standards.

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“Low rainfall affects the development and maturity of cotton bolls which subsequently results in short and weak fibres. By now cotton that was planted during the October rains has ripened and is ready for picking while the late crop is still at squaring, flowering and at early boll formation stages. We are currently training farmers on how to pick, grade and bale cotton based on the planting dates. The seed cotton should not be mixed,” Makoni said

In terms of adaptation strategies, Makoni shed light on Cottco’s exploration of alternative irrigation methods and drought-resistant cotton varieties.

“We already have a successful irrigation model at Chinyamukwakwa in Checheche, we intend to replicate this in all cotton growing areas across the country. Regarding the drought resistant varieties, we refer you to the Cotton Research Institute,” Makoni said

Meanwhile, Cottco has paid an additional USD $1 million dollars towards farmer payments in the week ending 22 March, covering 90% of the payments and leaving a USD balance of USD$3,2 million. The cumulative total for farmer payments now stands at $USD20,5 million dollars.

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