Cotton farmers target to produce 50 000 metric tonnes (MT) of the crop in the 2019/20 growing season, a jump from last year’s 7 000MT.
The sector could generate K2 billion if the anticipated output is sold at not less than K400 per kilogramme (kg).
Cotton Farmers Association president Dickson Gundani said in an interview yesterday in Lilongwe that the ambitious plan is premised on the improved hybrid seed that many farmers have accessed this year.
He said Cotton Council of Malawi (CCM) made available improved high-yielding cotton seed on loan to farmers.
Said Gundani: “Our goal is to produce 50 000 metric tonnes of cotton this year given improved seeds that many farmers have accessed through Cotton Council of Malawi’s loan arrangement with farmers’ clubs. Currently, experts and our representatives are on the ground to assess the crop in the field.
“If we will be offered better prices, a farmer should be able to smile all the way to the bank at the end of the season and recoup the investment made.”
He expressed optimism that the council would be able to recoup its input loans.
Gundani said extension planning areas and district agricultural offices have been involved in the loan process to ensure that farmers pay back within the stipulated time unlike in the past.
CCM executive director Cosmas Luwanda in an interview said the council will be scaling up new varieties that will produce 5 000 kg per hectare.
“Cotton sub-sector is a system and to deal with its challenges we need a systematic approach, which is why we are coming up with a Cotton Subsector Strategy.
“The ginning capacity in our ginneries is hovering at around 600 000 metric tonnes annually, but we only produce about 40 000 metric tonnes, which is way too low,” he said.
Minister of Finance, Economic Planning and Development Joseph Mwanamvekha allocated K1 billion for cotton production in the 2019/20 National Budget.
Agriculture expert Tamani Nkhono Mvula recently said investment in cotton is a good idea because the potential for cotton production is high in the country.
He said: “We can get more from cotton than what we are getting now. Apart from supporting farmers with inputs, we should also invest in research. We need more research to come up with new varieties.”