Over 6 000ha under irrigated tobacco: TIMB

Source: Over 6 000ha under irrigated tobacco: TIMB | The Herald

At least 6 179 hectares have been put under irrigated tobacco as at the end of last month, statistics that the Tobacco Industry and Marketing Board (TIMB) has released show.According to its weekly bulletin, the TIMB said about 5 882 hectares were put under tobacco during the comparable period in 2015.The TIMB said farmers who have planted irrigated tobacco are from Mashonaland East, Mashonaland West, and Mashonaland Central and Manicaland provinces.

It also said at least 803,5kg of flue cured tobacco seeds have been sold to date, showing an 18 percent increase from 683,7kg sold during the comparable period in 2015. At least 55 486 farmers have so far registered to grow tobacco during the 2016 /17 cropping season, which is a 10 percent drop from 61 281 farmers who had registered during the same period last year.

At least 202 million kg of tobacco has been sold so far since the 2016 marketing season commenced in March this year, surpassing the 190kg target that the industry regulator had set.The past cropping season was characterised by drought which resulted in farmers planting late, while the crop was also heavily affected by dry spells.

This year, the tobacco marketing season opened with some farmers complaining over the new payment system which the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe introduced, which required them to open bank accounts into which payments would be deposited as opposed to receiving spot cash at the floors as in previous years.

The new payment system was met with mixed reactions, with some farmers welcoming it while others felt the old system was more convenient, particularly in light of the cash shortages that the country was experiencing.

But, the central bank tried to cushion them from the change by simplifying the process so that banks only required tobacco farmers to furnish them with their national identity card and grower’s number in order to open bank accounts.In addition, the bank accounts have favourable conditions which include waiving of charges for maintaining them. – New Ziana.