NOMSA NKANA, Lusaka
THE Cotton Development Trust (CDT) says there is need for Government to expand irrigation facility to cotton growing areas to improve quality and increase crop productivity.
CDT director Lwisya Silwimba said currently, the CDT irrigation facility covers 80 hectares and has 40 hectares, which are not covered by supplementary irrigation.
“We would like an expansion to facilitate supplementary irrigation during dry spells and in times when there are late rains,” Mr Silwimba said in a statement.
He said this will improve the quality of cotton seed produced, thereby also increasing yields for smallholder farmers.
Mr Silwimba said the estimated cost of the proposed irrigation extension component is US$520,000 and works will include procurement of main and lateral pipes and installation of other equipment.
He also proposed that Government should upgrade and rehabilitate the existing old irrigation infrastructures including those for small-scale farmers in the country so that they become fully operational.
Mr Silwimba said research findings at CDT have revealed that irrigation significantly contributes to improvement of seed cotton yields by over double as compared to rain-fed cotton.
The CDT says without irrigation, seed cotton yields of small-scale farmers range from 0.3 tonne to 0.6 tonne per hectare of seed cotton.