via Mash West on top of the pile | The Herald December 4, 2013 by Zvifadzo Lubombo
Mashonaland West Province has registered the highest number of active tobacco growers for the 2013-14 season dislodging Mashonaland Central from the top slot, according to the latest Tobacco Industry and Marketing Board statistics.A TIMB tobacco progress report indicated that Mashonaland West has 25 000 farmers who have registered to grow the crop this season compared to 18 800 growers recorded last year.
The province has surpassed Mashonaland Central with 24 800 growers compared to last year’s figure of 19 000.
TIMB figures released in the first half of the year showed that Mashonaland West province had the highest number of growers at 28 676 farmers followed by Mashonaland Central with 28 305 farmers, Manicaland 16 649 farmers, Mashonaland East 15 971 farmers, Midlands 640 farmers, Masvingo 395 farmers and Matabeleland two.
Zimbabwe’s pool of tobacco growers continues to grow with more than 85 000 farmers having registered for the 203-14 marketing season.
The figure is expected to surpass last year’s figure of 90 000 as more new growers join the ranks.
Small-scale farmers continue to dominate tobacco production with communal and A1 farmers accounting for the biggest chunk of registered growers respectively.
The balance is made up of small-scale commercial farmers and farmers.
Farmers growing tobacco have been on the increase every season over the past few years as tobacco floor prices remained stable and attractive.
Tobacco is one of Zimbabwe’s major agricultural exports, accounting for 10,7 percent of gross domestic product.
Flu-cured tobacco exports have raked in US$769 million this year from the sale of 137 million kilogrames of the crop. The major export destinations include South Africa, Belgium, the United Arab Emirates, China, Sudan, Hong Kong, Indonesia, the Philippines, the United Kingdom and Russia.