Agriculture

Zim farmers commended for productivity despite little govt support

MADE COMMENDS FARMERS
Harare January 6, 2012 (New Ziana) -Agriculture Mechanisation and Irrigation Development Minister Joseph Made has commended farmers for increasing productivity despite little government assistance this farming season.
Made told New Ziana that farmers had this year surpassed the hectorage planted during the same time last year.
“Despite inadequate financial allocation from the Ministry of Finance this farming season farmers have managed to surpass last year’s planted hectarage at the same time of the year meaning that we are going to have increased productivity given that planting is still in progress in all provinces,” he said.
He said 750 376 hectares of maize had been planted so far this year compared to 715 814 hectares at the same time last year.
Made said 208 297 hectares of sorghum and other small grains had been planted this year compared to 235 039 planted the same time last year.
He urged farmers to desist from relying on government assistance and be self sufficient to boost agricultural productivity.
Despite shortage of fertilizer and that it was expensive on the open market; farmers had used their limited resources to increase productivity.
Farmers across the country have criticized the Ministry of Finance for not allocating sufficient funds to the agricultural sector.
New Ziana

Zim trains over 4 000 on using energy saving barns

0VER 4 000 FARMERS TRAINED ON ENERGY SAVING TOBACCO BARNS
Harare, January06, 2011(New Ziana)-The Tobacco Research Board (TRB) has trained over 4 500 tobacco farmer to construct and use energy saving barns, an official said Friday.
Energy saving barns reduce the period for curing tobacco from seven to nine days to between five to six days while increasing efficiency.
The barns also reduce by about 50 to 55 percent the amount coal or wood consumed compared to the conventional tobacco curing methods, thereby reducing the environmental footprint.
TRB head field divisional services Ezekia Svotwa said thousands of other farmers were also reached through other fora such as exhibitions.
“More farmers are still coming for training at our offices and we are also taking the training to the farmer’s door step to raise awareness.
“To date we have trained more than 4 000 tobacco producers and the number is set to increase since training is ongoing,” he said.
About 65 000 farmers registered to grow tobacco in the 2011/12 cropping season compared to 52 000 the previous year.
Svotwa said trainings were held every Monday, Wednesday and Friday at TRB offices.
“Farmers are free to approach us on these and other issues that are related to production of the crop,” he said.
Zimbabwe expects to produce about 150 million kg of the golden leaf this year, 12 percent higher than 132 million kg produced last year.
China is the biggest buyer of Zimbabwean tobacco including cigarettes, importing a total of 33, 8 million kg worth US$245 million while the United Arab Emirates and South Africa are the second largest taking 12, 5 million and 12, 7 million kg respectively.
New Ziana

Tobacco harvesting underway

TOBACCO HARVESTING UNDERWAY
Harare December 21, 2011(New Ziana) -Some farmers with irrigated tobacco have started harvesting and curing their crop at a time when those on rain fed farms are still planting.
About 22 000 hectares have been put under tobacco this year out of a target of 70 000 with planting still underway.
At least 11 000 hectares of the planted area is under irrigation compared to 13 000 hectares last year.
More than 65 000 farmers registered to grow the crop in the 2011/12 cropping season compared to 52 000 the previous year.
Traditionally, tobacco planting officially ends on December 31.
Zimbabwe Commercial Farmers Union (ZCFU) vice president Mayideyi Maswi said the late onset of rains had delayed the maturity of the crop.
“Tobacco farmers in traditional growing areas with irrigated crop have started harvesting and curing the golden leaf for the past three weeks,” she said.
“These areas include some parts in the Mashonaland East, Central and West provinces,” she said.
Zimbabwe expects to produce about 150 million kg of the golden leaf next year, 12 percent higher than 132 million kg produced in the past year.
Maswi said while some farmers were already harvesting their crop, others were still planting.
“Its mixed fortunes, some farmers are harvesting while others are planting or one farmer is doing both,” Maswi said.
Zimbabwe Farmers Union (ZFU) director Paul Zakariya confirmed that irrigated crop had done very well and some farmers were already harvesting.
“The irrigated crop shows a success story mainly due to experience gained by the farmers now,” he said.
Zakariya said the liquidity crunch being experienced in the country was likely to affect production as many farmers did not have adequate labour due to lack of funds.
China is the biggest buyer of Zimbabwean tobacco including cigarettes importing a total of 33, 8 million kilograms worth US$245 million while the United Arab Emirates and South Africa were the second largest taking 12, 5 million and 12, 7 million kilograms respectively.
New Ziana

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