Cotton Farmers Push for Local Production of Hybrid Seeds

Hastings Hastings - pic by Christopher Sande

The Cotton Farmers Association, (COFA) has asked hybrid seed suppliers to start producing the seeds locally amid complaints that the exorbitant prices of imported seeds are deterring farmers from growing the crop.

COFA Chairperson for Chikwawa, Andrea Hastings hopes such a step can assist Malawi to produce adequate cotton that will eventually spur economic development.

"Many people are finding it hard to grow the crop because the seeds are very expensive, we ask the government and private companies to consider producing the seeds right here in Malawi," said Hastings.

He added that as the cotton market season begins today at a farmgate price of K580 per kilogram, COFA will be alert to ensure that buyers do not exploit the farmers this year.

The sentiments were collaborated by Assistant Agriculture Extension Development Officer for Livunzu, Biziwick Chabwera and a farmer, Laston Mzukuya from Chinkole village in Katunga area in the district, saying measures need to be put to motivate farmers for them to take part in cotton production.

"You know that cotton farmers face a lot of challenges, but we are happy that stakeholders are trying their best to reduce them. I thank companies like Quton Malawi Limited for bringing hybrid cotton varieties and I have benefited a lot," explained Mzukuya.

Quton Malawi Limited Commercial Manager for the South, Daniel Ng’oma says his company will start producing hybrid seeds locally in three years’ time.

"Meanwhile, we ask all people from cotton growing areas including the Shire Valley to use hybrid varieties for the to realize bumper yields," Ng'oma said.

On its part,  Cotton Council of Malawi says it will continue to safeguard the interests of cotton farmers to ensure that they benefit from their sweat.

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