Zaka — Communal farmers here are pinning hopes on cotton this farming season after erratic rains affected their plans.
Chiredzi and other southern parts of Masvingo only received meaningful rains during the second half of the season dampening prospects of good harvests of grains such as maize.
However, with marked improvement in rainfall this year, farmers believe cotton will carry their day.
The white gold, as cotton is affectionately known, is in good shape across the arid district.
"Generally, we have had a poor season here because most of us had replanted maize following a prolonged dry spell and harvests will be very poor this year due to irregular rainfall patterns.
"The only people who are expecting to salvage something from the fields are those who planted cotton. It is the only crop, which is doing well under these conditions," said Mr Vincent Pepukai from Village 1 in George Mayor Resettlement Scheme.
Another farmer, Mrs Sandra Moyo said most farmers were now reluctant to grow cotton due to low prices offered for the crop and the intensive labour.
"There is a lot that is required when growing cotton such as labour and buying chemicals, but the price being offered for the crop has remained low.
"Most of us are now reluctant to grow this crop, but it seems it is the only crop which is doing well in Chiredzi this year," she said.
Chief Tshovani, Mr Felix Mundau said the situation on the ground was not pleasing since most people will require food aid.
"At first the rains disappeared soon after we had planted our crops and we were forced to replant, but the rains have been erratic in some parts," he said.
"Traditionally cotton is grown in Chiredzi, but due to being labour intensive and low prices, people have been slowly venturing into other crops like maize and small grains.
"Due to the erratic rains only a few who stuck to the traditional crop are expecting something," he said.
He said even the small grains were not doing well.