Elita Chikwati Senior Agriculture Reporter
Preparations for the 2017-18 tobacco season have started, with over 10 000 new growers registered with the Tobacco Industry and Marketing Board (TIMB).
Statistics from TIMB show that 47 299 farmers have registered to grow tobacco during the 2017-18 season and 10 789 are new growers.
The highest number of the new growers is coming from the communal sector. As at June 21, 6 090 communal farmers had registered to grow the crop for the first time.
The A1 sector has 3 905 farmers registered for the 2017 /18 season for the first time while 425 new growers are from the A2 sector and 328 from the small-scale sector. TIMB statistics show that seed sales have also increased by 93 percent.
Tobacco farmers have bought seed equivalent to 84 308 hectares. This is an increase of 93 percent from the 43 473 hectares from the same period last year.
The Zimbabwe Tobacco Seed Association has so far sold 206 135 grammes of seed which covers 34 355 hectares. During the same period last year, ZTSA had sold 74 765 grammes of seed which covers 12 460 hectares.
The Tobacco Research Board has sold 299 710 grammes equivalent to cover 49 952 hectares up from the 186 070 grammes covering 31 012 hectares during the same period last year.
Tobacco production has been on the increase for the past years because of an organised marketing system, higher prices and better payments modalities.