Tobacco registrations increase 65 percent

Source: Tobacco registrations increase 65 percent | The Herald November 10, 2018

Elita Chikwati Senior Agriculture Reporter
Tobacco grower registrations for the 2018-19 season have increased by 65 percent from 98 233 farmers last season to 162 028, statistics from the Tobacco Industry and Marketing Board (TIMB) have shown.

Of the registered growers, 34 845 are registering for the first time.

Latest statistics from TIMB show that communal farmers have become the major tobacco growers.

According to TIMB, 91 268 communal farmers have registered to grow tobacco for the 2018-19 season, while 53 390 are from the A1 sector.

There are 8 231 registered farmers from the A2 farmers, while 9 139 small-scale farmers have also registered to grow the crop.

The increase in registration has largely been influenced by the need for farmers to obtain individual grower’s numbers so that they benefit from the introduction of foreign currency incentives.

The use of plastic money has also made it difficult for the farmers to share their money after selling their crop as they are no longer paid cash.

The money is now being deposited in bank accounts or paid through EcoCash.

Tobacco production has been on the increase for the past years due to an organised market and the recent introduction of an input scheme by Government.

During the 2017-18 marketing season farmers sold 252,2 million kilogrammes of tobacco, the highest ever in the history of the country.

Stakeholders are concerned over the disregard for rules and regulations that guide production of the crop, an act that has resulted in the resurgence of plant diseases that had become extinct decades ago.