To­bacco hec­tarage up 7.41 per­cent

Chronicle (Zimbabwe) - - Front Page - Oliver Kazunga

THE hec­tarage planted un­der to­bacco crop in the 2018/19 crop­ping sea­son has im­proved by 7,41 per­cent to 79 708 ha from 74 238 ha in the com­pa­ra­ble pe­riod last year.

Statis­tics re­leased by the To­bacco In­dus­try and Mar­ket­ing Board (TIMB), show that as of De­cem­ber 21, the area planted un­der to­bacco had im­proved with the bulk of hec­tarage be­ing dry land. A to­tal of 62 861 ha of dry land have so far been utilised un­der to­bacco while 16 847 were un­der ir­ri­gation. Dur­ing the same pe­riod last year, 58 979 ha were put un­der dry land while 15 259 ha were for the ir­ri­gated to­bacco.

TIMB re­vealed that by De­cem­ber 20 the num­ber of new to­bacco grow­ers for the sea­son had in­creased by 33 per­cent to 40 414 com­pared to 30 444 dur­ing the same pe­riod last year. In Zim­babwe, to­bacco is grown in Mashona­land West, Mashona­land Cen­tral, Man­i­ca­land, Mashona­land East, Mid­lands, Masvingo and Mata­bele­land, which has reg­is­tered two farm­ers.

Although Mata­bele­land re­gion has two reg­is­tered to­bacco farm­ers so far, same as last year, no hectares have so far have been planted. To­bacco is one of the coun­try’s ma­jor for­eign cur­rency earn­ers.

TIMB has in­di­cated that 184 mil­lion kilo­grammes of the golden leaf have since the be­gin­ning of the year been ex­ported to dif­fer­ent coun­tries across the globe rak­ing in $891,6 mil­lion at an av­er­age price of $4,85 a kg. Dur­ing the same pe­riod last year, Zim­babwe sold 182,3 mil­lion kg around the world at an av­er­age price of $4,96 a kg rak­ing in $904,2 mil­lion.

The to­bacco sec­tor has since the lib­er­al­i­sa­tion of the econ­omy in Feb­ru­ary 2009, been piv­otal in pro­vid­ing liq­uid­ity sup­port to the econ­omy. Against this back­ground, Gov­ern­ment through the Re­serve Bank of Zim­babwe has of­fered in­cen­tives to the to­bacco sec­tor with a view to boost­ing the crop’s pro­duc­tion and en­hanc­ing for­eign cur­rency in­flows.

Such in­cen­tive schemes in­cluded the to­bacco in­put fi­nance fa­cil­ity, which RBZ in­creased from $28 mil­lion last year to $70 mil­lion in 2018. In this light, the num­ber of to­bacco grow­ers in the 2018/19 farm­ing sea­son has also im­proved to over 166 000 from about 100 000 last year. — @okazunga.

To­bacco crop

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