Fresh hope for improved leaf quality

Precious Manomano

Herald Reporter

The return of the rains after a prolonged dry spell has ignited fresh hope to tobacco farmers since the crop which is currently in the field will improve leaf condition and quality.

Other farmers who have their tobacco ready to be delivered to the market are withholding the crop to ensure that moisture will not affect it.

Farmers said more deliveries to the auction and contract floors will be expected after the rains.

Tobacco Farmers’ Union Trust president Mr Victor Mariranyika said more deliveries are expected soon after the rains, adding that farmers are now gaining confidence in the newly introduced Zimbabwe Gold currency, saying it will combat the parallel black market.

“Farmers are delivering their crop but we expect more deliveries since some farmers are not comfortable moving the crop in wet weather. These rains are good for the crop which is still in the fields. They will improve leaf growth. On the issue of the new currency there is a need to create more educative campaigns so that everyone has a better understanding of the new currency,” he said.

Mr Tendai Musamu of Karoi said there is need to ensure that the crop is well protected from moisture, adding that not all transporters have the capacity to do so.

“What is important is to check if your crop is well protected. Failure to do so will compromise the crop. We have high hopes that the new currency can withstand inflation better than the bond notes,” he said.

Mrs Janet Muparutsi of Bindura said wet weather was affecting most farmers, adding that farmers are also not quite sure how the ZiG currency operates.

“Rains are affecting our operations as farmers but I’m sure it will not last for some days so that we can deliver our crop and see how the new currency works,” she said.

Since the opening of the 2024 marketing season, farmers have sold over 50 million kg of tobacco worth US$176 845 516 million with contract floors offering the highest price of US$6,99 per kg.

Tobacco Industry and Marketing Board (TIMB) seasonal sales statistics have shown that volumes of the crop sold at both auction and contract floors have increased by 12 percent from 44 508 378 million kg to 50 179 357 million kg during the same period last year.

The bulk of the crop sold so far came through the contract floors.

A total of 3 084 398 million kg worth US$811 252 636 million have been sold through the auction floors, while 47 094 959 million kg worth US$165 592 880 million have been sold at contract floors.

The tobacco sector alone has the potential to anchor the Zimbabwean economy as it possesses huge opportunities for growth.

Tobacco production has been on the increase in the past years. Government has encouraged farmers and the tobacco industry to venture into value addition to increase the value of exports in line with the National Development Strategy 1 and the establishment of an upper middle-income society through Vision 2030.

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