To­bacco farm­ers be­gin land prepa­ra­tions

Chronicle (Zimbabwe) - - Business Chronicle - Oliver Kazunga

TO­BACCO farm­ers have started land prepa­ra­tion ahead of the farm­ing sea­son which begins early next month.

Agron­o­mist and to­bacco ex­pert Mr Thomas Nher­era told Busi­ness Chron­i­cle yes­ter­day that ir­ri­gated to­bacco trans­plant­ing is set to be­gin on Septem­ber 1, while the rain fed crop would be trans­planted be­gin­ning midOc­to­ber.

“With the ir­ri­gated crop, the farm­ers start trans­plant­ing on the 1st of Septem­ber, which is two weeks from now. Wa­ter­ing of the crop would be­gin mid-Septem­ber. Trans­plant­ing of the rain-fed to­bacco is ex­pected to be­gin mid-Oc­to­ber and right now, farm­ers are busy fu­mi­gat­ing and pre­par­ing the land,” he said.

Mr Nher­era said it was too early to es­ti­mate the hec­tarage to be put un­der to­bacco in the up­com­ing sea­son say­ing such in­for­ma­tion will only be avail­able next month.

Asked about his views on the num­ber of to­bacco grow­ers in the next farm­ing sea­son, he said:

“As you may have seen, to­bacco in­flows at the auc­tion floors this year brought in more money than last year. Given that back­ground, we’re likely to see an in­crease in to­bacco out­put in the 2016/17 farm­ing sea­son.”

Lat­est statis­tics from the To­bacco In­dus­try and Mar­ket­ing Board (TIMB), show that a to­tal of 197,1 mil­lion kilo­grammes of the golden leaf worth $580,2 mil­lion have been sold since the be­gin­ning of the 2016 mar­ket­ing sea­son in March.

Dur­ing the same pe­riod last year, to­bacco sales raked in $560 mil­lion from 190,3 mil­lion kg.

This year’s to­bacco sell­ing sea­son ended on Au­gust 5 and fi­nal statis­tics of the sea­son will be re­leased af­ter the end of the mop-up sales next week.

The pre­vi­ous farm­ing sea­son was marred by drought that saw farm­ers across the coun­try plant­ing late.

This year, the mar­ket­ing sea­son started with some farm­ers com­plain­ing over the new pay­ment sys­tem that the Re­serve Bank of Zim­babwe in­tro­duced, which re­quires them to open bank ac­counts into which pay­ments are de­posited as op­posed to re­ceiv­ing spot cash at the floors as was the case in the past. — @ okazunga

To­bacco farm­ing sea­son begins early next month

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