THE cotton industry is set for a boom with a high yield short season hybrid variety set to be imported from India as part of a US$2 million facility to boost production.

With climate change taking its toll on the long season open pollinated variety (OPV), the country is now moving towards the Mahyco hybrid which farmers have been clamouring for.

COTTCO Acting Chief Executive Officer Mr Munyaradzi Chikasha told stakeholders in the cotton industry value chain from Kadoma that after trial runs, more farmers will access the new variety from India, with the volume of the seed set to increase 7 fold.

“All the cotton being produced under the Cottco banner has been supported through the presidential input support scheme targeting mainly small holder farmers . Because of challenges linked to the OPV, we are moving in to import about 170 metric tonnes of the Mahyco hybrid variety which is high yielding and is a short season variety suited to the changing climatic patterns prevailing,” he said.

Despite effects of climate change on the crop this season, there is enough lint for local spinners, with the remainder set to be exported.

Meanwhile farmers have called for an increase in the number of Agritex extension officers dedicated to cotton production, with Mashonaland West Acting Agritex Director Mrs Evelyn Ndoro saying the department is open to suggestions to strengthen the capacity of the cotton sector.

“The policy is that extension officers should oversee production of every crop. We don’t confine ourselves to any particular crops,” she noted.

However, despite the current challenges the future of the cotton production sector looks bright with farmers impressed by the new producer prices for the white gold.

The event was also an opportunity for stakeholders in the industry to be taken through the lint production process.