Cotton farmers in Mashonaland Central and sometimes in the whole country are in limbo as stocks of harvested cotton are now an eyesore as cotton companies are struggling to open their depots due to lack of cash.
Cotton, which used to be second biggest money earner after tobacco, has been reduced to trash as our system of production is expensive and cannot compete with the genetically modified cotton that is less expensive and can produce high yields.
Zimbabwean authorities have refused to move with the dynamism of technological agriculture so its products are expensive to produce and this leaves the farmer with nothing after sweating throughout the season. Cotton farming areas in Mashonaland Central — Rushinga, Mount Darwin, Muzarabani and Mbire — have been put out of business by low prices.
The cotton industry has been been dying for the past eight years as contracted farmers fail to repay loans advanced to them due to low prices. Expensive inputs and low prices promoted side marketing as repaying the loan meant the farmer would come out empty-handed.
So non-payment of loans affected all companies and some have closed with others downsizing their operations.
In other words, the failure by the government to subsidise production of agricultural inputs has led to the death of agriculture.The government must come up with a stimulus package to encourage production of strategic crops in the country or the economy is here to die forever.