Less to­bacco farm­ers reg­is­ter

Chronicle (Zimbabwe) - - Business Chronicle - Oliver Kazunga

OVER 50 000 farm­ers have so far reg­is­tered to grow to­bacco in the 2016/17 crop­ping sea­son com­pared to 97 616 grow­ers recorded dur­ing the same pe­riod last year.

Ac­cord­ing to lat­est fig­ures from the To­bacco In­dus­try and Mar­ket­ing Board (TIMB), 50 665 farm­ers have reg­is­tered to grow the crop in the next farm­ing sea­son.

TIMB in­di­cated that 50 665 have so far reg­is­tered to grow the golden leaf in the up­com­ing sea­son.

The grow­ers com­prise com­mu­nal farm­ers, A1 and A2 farm­ers as well as small-scale pro­duc­ers.

At present, the golden leaf is be­ing grown in seven re­gions namely, Mashona­land Cen­tral, Mashona­land West, Masvingo, Mashona­land East, Man­i­ca­land, Mid­lands, and Mata­bele­land re­gion, which is slowly ven­tur­ing into the sec­tor.

Last year, the num­ber of farm­ers un­der­tak­ing to­bacco farm­ing de­clined largely due to poor re­turns re­ceived in the 2014 and 2015 sea­sons against rising costs of pro­duc­tion and in­creas­ing grower debt.

The fur­ther de­cline is also at­trib­uted to farm­ers who planted the crop in Novem­ber and De­cem­ber 2015 due to the drought con­di­tions pre­vail­ing.

The mar­ket­ing board in­di­cated that Mashona­land Cen­tral prov­ince has the high­est num­ber of reg­is­tered to­bacco grow­ers for the 2016/17 farm­ing sea­son with 19 595 hav­ing so far reg­is­tered.

Mashona­land West is on sec­ond spot with 18 884 reg­is­tered farm­ers fol­lowed by Mashona­land East at 6 349 while Man­i­ca­land and the Mid­lands have recorded 5 735 and 70 re­spec­tively.

Masvingo and Mata­bele­land have 31 and one re­spec­tively.

This year’s to­bacco sell­ing sea­son at the auc­tion floors closed on Fri­day last week with over 188 mil­lion kilo­grammes hav­ing gone un­der the ham­mer this year gen­er­at­ing over $530 mil­lion.

This year’s to­bacco sales tar­gets were re­vised from 175 mil­lion kg to 190 mil­lion as de­liv­er­ies con­tin­ued trick­ling in.

Mean­while, 57,4 mil­lion kg of the golden leaf have been ex­ported to dif­fer­ent parts of the coun­try since the be­gin­ning of the year rak­ing in $298,1 mil­lion.

Dur­ing the com­pa­ra­ble pe­riod last year, 63 mil­lion kg were ex­ported gen­er­at­ing $336,5 mil­lion. — @okazunga

To­bacco field

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