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Cotton farmers seek protection

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By Watipaso Mzungu:

DISGRUNTLED—Some of the farmers

Cotton farmers in Salima have warned that they will not grow the crop this year if the government does not facilitate bringing of improved and hybrid seeds on the market.

The farmers have further asked government to come up with mechanisms of protecting them from fake seed traders ahead of the 2019/20 growing season.

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The farmers raised the concerns at a round table at Chinguluwe Extension Planning Area offices on Wednesday.

One of the farmers, Lloyd Daza, said fake seeds are keeping cotton farmers in perpetual poverty as they cannot improve production with such seeds.

“It is worrying that, in spite of calls for the farmers to embrace improved and hybrid seeds to beat adverse effects of climate change, government is not assisting cotton farmers to access improved seeds on the market. We are still using the old variety – chureza – which is no longer giving us returns,” Daza asked.

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Felister Mayambo, a 49-year-old farmer from Mbawa Village in Traditional Authority Kalonga, said, in the previous season, she harvested only two kilogrammes on a two-acre piece of land.

“Government must find a replacement of this seed or else we stop growing cotton. Otherwise, we are not here to please and enrich cotton traders only; we also need to make profits for us to continue farming,” Mayambo said.

African Institute for Corporate Citizenship project officer responsible for cotton sector, Isaac Tembo, urged the farmers to seek expert opinion before the seeds.

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