At least 55 885 hectares of land have been put under tobacco as at the end of last week, an increase from 50 151 hectares planted during the comparable period last year, the industry regulator has said.Of the 55 885 hectares, at least 41 487 were put under dry land tobacco while the remainder is an irrigated crop.
Also according to the Tobacco Industry and Marketing Board (TIMB), at least 80 173 farmers have registered to grow tobacco during the 2016 /17 cropping season, an increase from 69 803 recorded at the same time last year.
Of the total number of registered growers, 38 153 are communal farmers.
Since the country started using multiple foreign currencies in 2009, the tobacco industry has been one of the fastest to recover from the economic meltdown of the past decade due to favourable prices and organised marketing.
Many farmers have been abandoning other cash crops such as cotton for tobacco due to the favourable prices.
Tobacco is the single largest export commodity for Zimbabwe, ahead of platinum and gold.
Zimbabwe’s tobacco is exported to countries like China, South Africa, Belgium, the United Arab Emirates, Indonesia, Sudan and Russia among others. – New Ziana.