Farmers plant over 100k hectares of tobacco
Harare (New Ziana) – At least 104 635 hectares of land has been put under tobacco in the current cropping season, an official said on Monday.
Tobacco Industry and Marketing Board (TIMB) acting chief executive officer, Emmanuel Matsvaire said the size of land put under tobacco so far is lower than 111 912 hectares that were planted during the same period last year.
“As of 12 January 2023, TIMB recorded 104,635 hectares under tobacco for the 2022/23 cropping season whilst there were 111,912 hectares of tobacco during the same period in the previous season,” he said.
He said the tobacco industry regulator was currently conducting a crop assessment exercise in all tobacco producing regions.
“Harvesting of tobacco is already underway. Some farmers with the irrigated crop are done whilst some only have 1 or 2 reapings to go; semi-irrigated tobacco is also being harvested. Harvesting occurs simultaneously with curing and we continually encourage growers to use sustainable curing fuels as well as efficient curing facilities,” he said.
He said indications are that prices would be firm this year, as were in 2022.
“We are reliably informed that Covid-19 in China is under control and business is operating well, this gives us confidence that the Chinese market is open for Zimbabwe tobacco,” he said.
Currently, only 18 percent of Zimbabwe’s tobacco crop is grown under irrigation, and the government intends to expand this to at least 40 percent to ramp up production, and also in order to avoid relying on unpredictable rains.
At least 122 000 growers registered to grow and sell tobacco during the 2021/22 cropping season, 95 percent of whom are under contract.
Also commonly referred to as “the golden leaf”, tobacco is the country’s biggest agricultural export and second largest single commodity export after gold.