Farmers optimistic of meeting target tobacco hectarage The drop in the planted area was certainly going to be reversed as most small-scale farmers had started planting.

Edgar Vhera Agriculture Specialist Writer

THE rains currently hitting most parts of the country have triggered a planting frenzy among tobacco farmers with the industry still entertaining hopes of meeting the 2023/24 national target of 148 500 hectares or even surpass it following the early season drought that had paralysed all farming activities.

Statistics released by the Tobacco Industry and Marketing Board (TIMB) weekly report 49 dated December 15 show that there was a 27 percent decline in total area planted from 75 411 hectares in 2022 against this year’s 55 170.

However, the rains have re-ignited the industry’s hopes of achieving the target amid high hopes for the crop’s hectarages to start rising significantly in the coming days, as more farmers join the planting craze.

Zimbabwe Tobacco Association (ZTA) chief executive officer Mr Rodney Ambrose said the variance between the area planted last year and this year will be reduced.

“A more accurate figure will come out in the next weeks, as planting is underway in many areas. The recent rains have also boosted the already established crops that were starting to show signs of moisture stress,” he said.

Tobacco Farmers Union Trust president Mr Victor Mariranyika concurred saying it was certain that the area was going to increase because many farmers were waiting to do the rain-fed crop.

“The increase may not be very significant because most small-scale farmers made a loss on the seedbed due to prolonged dry spell,” he said.

Zimbabwe Tobacco Growers Association (ZTGA) chairman Mr George Seremwe concurred saying the drop in planted area was certainly going to be reversed, as most small-scale farmers had started planting in places like Dotito, Centenary and Karoi although the main challenge would be the inadequacy of seedlings for the dry land crop.

 

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