ZAMBIA's cotton output is projected to increase by more than 60,000 tonnes in 2014, the Zambia Cotton Ginners Association (ZCGA) has disclosed. ZCGA executive secretary Bourne Chooka said based on seed sold, the initial estimated cotton production for this year is 168,000 tonnes, 68,000 tonnes more than the 100,000 tonnes harvested in 2013. Mr Chooka said this year's output is likely to be better than the previous seasons due to the reliable and increased support in input provision and extension services by ginners to the farmers. "Extended support to not only cotton but maize and soya beans growing, including other corporate social responsibility programmes that include provision of cattle, as well as infrastructure to the farming community. "These and many more reasons have attracted farmers to continue cotton production," Mr Chooka said. He said to date, 331,700 hectares of land have been recorded as planted in the season and about 60 per cent of the total cotton produced this year is expected to come from Eastern Province . Mr Chooka said the country enjoyed the same demand for local lint and fuzzy from customers abroad and was able to meet export demands for the products. "Lint is mostly exported to the Far East with China being the biggest market while excess fuzzy is exported within this region with South Africa being the biggest market," Mr Chooka said. In 2013 alone, Zambia earned US$ 70 million from cotton exports despite nose-diving world prices. Mr Chooka did note that world Prices for cotton have not really made any significant improvements due to large reserve stocks. Cotton in Zambia is predominantly grown among four provinces namely, Eastern, Central, Southern and Lusaka , with 500 kilogrammes of the crop being harvested per hectare of land.
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