165 000 register to grow ‘golden leaf’

Source: 165 000 register to grow ‘golden leaf’ | The Herald 12 DEC, 2018

165 000 register to grow ‘golden leaf’Wonder Chabikwa

Elita Chikwati Senior Agriculture Reporter
The 2018-19 tobacco registrations have reached 165 850, a 65 percent increase from the 100 723 who registered last year. The statistics come at a time when the early planted irrigated crop now showing signs of ripening.

Farmers are expected to start reaping soon. They have also planted 42 010 hectares of irrigated and dryland tobacco compared to 41 177ha during the same period last year.

Federation of Farmers’ Union chairman Mr Wonder Chabikwa yesterday said the early planted tobacco crop was in good condition and was already showing signs of ripening.

“The early irrigated tobacco is in good condition and we expect farmers to start reaping in the next two to three weeks.

“Tobacco farmers do not normally have challenges with inputs as the bulk of the crop is grown under contract farming,” he said.

Under contract farming, growers are given inputs that include seed, fertiliser, chemicals as well as technical advice.

According to the Tobacco Industry and Marketing Board latest statistics, 165 854 farmers have already registered for the 2018-19 season.

This is an increase of 65 percent from the 100 723 farmers who registered during the same period last year.

The bulk of the farmers who have registered are from the communal and A1 sectors. According to TIMB, 36 489 registered for the first time.

A breakdown of the figures shows that 93 677 farmers communal farmers registered folowed by  54 686 (A1), 9 395 (A2) and 8 396 (small-scale commercial sector).

Tobacco has become the most popular crop in the country due to favourable prices and orderly marketing.

The crop is also well funded. Growers receive a 12,5 percent foreign currency incentive for producing the golden leaf.