On 11 November 2021 President Emmerson Mnangagwa launched the Cotton Pfumvudza program in Gokwe. The move came at a time when previously cotton farmers felt they were sweating for no gain.
There are a lot of challenges that are still being faced despite President Mnangagwa’s gesture. Amidst the challenges faced by Gokwe women, cotton production has become a thorn in the flesh for its payment is coming in the form of value less RTGS and groceries. Government officials make promises at the beginning of each season but these are never fulfilled at the end of the season. Gokwe is well known for its high temperatures and perennial water shortages and this is another burden being faced. Women have to walk long distances to fetch water for domestic use. Some of the available water has been polluted by Flouride which they call it ‘imbise’ and reacts with teeth to form an off whitish colour if drank. Thus it is not safe to drink but they are forced to drink it by circumstances.
Under these situations they have been forced to adopt the Pfumvudza farming method which many feel is primitive as they are forced to spend most of their time digging holes in preparation to farm the once golden crop which has turned to be a fallacy. They feel this method is enslaving people at a time modern technology can be adopted for better yields. The other concern from Gokwe women is value addition and how it benefits the people of Gokwe.
Zimbabwe should not rely on the world market price of cotton instead it should invest in factories which process cotton into finished or semi finished products which can fetch more money through exports. This should be done in Gokwe region inorder to create employment and benefit the primary producers.