The Cotton Development Trust (CDT) has bemoaned lack of mechanisation and under-utilisation of farming land, as stumbling blocks to the country’s cotton yields.
Lwisya Silwimba, Director at CDT said Zambia has huge potential for cotton production, though only 30 percent of land suitable for cotton is being utilised.
He said 300,000 hectares of land out of 1,000,000 hectares is devoted to cotton production in the country’s major growing regions of Eastern, Southern, Central and Lusaka provinces.
“Cotton production is labour-intensive, so cotton farmers in the country are not able to cultivate beyond a hectare each without mechanisation,” Silwimba said, calling for government intervention.
Away from the local challenges, Silwimba said low cotton price on the international market present another obstacle to farmers eager to increase hectares of seed cotton production.
“Ginners use international prices to calculate the local price which is pegged at K3.00 per kg of seed cotton,” Silwimba said.
The low price has also pushed farmers abandon cotton to cultivate crops such as maize for fast income generation.