Tobacco farmers begin land preparations
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