Elita Chikwati Senior Agriculture Reporter
Flue cured tobacco deliveries for the 2021 marketing season have surpassed the national target of 210 million kilogrammes.
So far farmers have sold 210,4 million kilogrammes worth US$588 million with the bulk of the crop coming from the contracted growers.
Only 12, 5 million kilogrammes valued at US$35 million were sold through the auction floors while 197, 9 million kilogrammes worth US$553 million were delivered by contracted growers.
Government has created a Tobacco Production Localisation Revolving Fund with an initial injection of US$60 million from Treasury to support growers during the forthcoming season.
The seed money is set to fund the production of 60 million kilogrammes of tobacco during the 2021/22 season.
Tobacco is largely funded through private contractors and loans, and tobacco farmers are considered among the most skilled in Zimbabwe, hence the calls for them to expand operations into other crops and for other farmers to emulate their skills.