TIMB expecting 285 million kg of tobacco TIMB CEO Mr Emmanuel Matsvaire and Mazowe DDC Mr Mark Kadaira planting a tree at Forester Estate in Mazowe.

Fungai Lupande Mashonaland Central Bureau

The Tobacco Industry and Marketing Board (TIMB) is expecting not less than 285 million kilogrammes regardless of the high temperatures and El-Nino-induced drought season this year.

Speaking at a TIMB tree planting day at Forester Estate in Mazowe, the Chief Executive Officer Mr Emmanuel Matsvaire urged tobacco farmers to plant irrigated tobacco earlier to climate proof the crop.

He said a large proportion of the crop must be irrigated.

“Early planting can only be enforced by opening auction floors early to enable growers to adjust backwards. Costs of production is a major factor affecting tobacco production and we urge contractors to ensure that farmers get profits,” he said.

“After every three years, we will send a circular that every contractor who is not exporting has failed. We want all contractors to be exporters as a matter of policy.”

Addressing delegates, the guest of honour, Mazowe District Development Coordinator Mr Mark Kadaira said tree planting is not a sole responsibility of institutions like the Sustainable Afforestation Association, Forestry Commission and TIMB.

He said tree planting is everyone’s responsibility and can only succeed when everyone plays a part.

“If everyone plays a part, there wont be an urgent need to revive damaged forest ecosystems,” he said.

“Tree planting will help in ending poverty, combat climate change and prevent mass extinction of tree species. Trees cannot be separated from our day to day lives.

“They provide us with fresh air to breathe, medicine, fuel wood, materials to build, shade, food to humans and animals. Trees provide places of spiritual, cultural, recreational importance and provide habitat for animals.”

Mr Kadaira said trees play a crucial role in the face of climate change and helps communities to adapt to the climate change.

He added that the slight decrease in the rate of deforestation, from 320 000 hectares per year to 262 000 hectares per year is still worrisome.

“We all need to take part in the fight against deforestation. The major drivers of deforestation include expansion of land for agricultural purposes, veld fires, settlement expansion, firewood demand and tobacco curing,” he said.

“Let us join hands in curbing deforestation. This year’s edition of the TIMB Tree Planting Programme has clearly demonstrated that everyone must come on board to fight deforestation.”

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