Incessant rains affect tobacco curing

01 Feb, 2017 - 00:02 0 Views

The Herald

Runyararo Muzavazi Herald Reporter—-

heavy rains being experienced countrywide have resulted in prolonged tobacco curing and false ripening which is threatening the quality of the crop, the Tobacco Industry and Marketing Board has said.

TIMB’s weekly update shows that the rains have caused leaching and water logging problems in tobacco growing areas and this has resulted in false ripening.

“Humid conditions have also prolonged tobacco curing periods. Some cases of hail were also reported in Mashonaland West and this can affect yields,” said TIMB in a statement.

Zimbabwe Commercial Farmers union president Mr Wonder Chabikwa said challenges in tobacco curing need to be addressed to reduce losses.

“Considering the amount of rains that have been experienced, tobacco farmers need to be highly observant and skilfully manage their crops,” he said.

Mr Chabikwa said one of the problems faced by farmers was false and rapid ripening which resulted in reaping and curing pressure.

“However, farmers may reduce the curing pressure by applying calcium nitrate,” he said.

Farmers have also complained that high humidity is causing moulding of cured tobacco.

Preparations for the 2017 tobacco marketing season are at advanced stage with the Tobacco Industry and Marketing Board running a mock electronic sale.

The 2017 season will see the tobacco sector switching to electronic marketing system to reduce corruption and improve efficiency.

The number of farmers who have registered for the 2016/17 season has increased by 16 percent from the 70 462, who had registered during the same period last year, to 81 548.

Farmers have also planted 107 035 hectares of tobacco compared to 95 160 ha last year.

Some of the companies that have been awarded electronic marketing licences include Tobacco Auction Floors, Premier Tobacco Auction Floors and Tobacco Sales Floors.

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