Elita Chikwati Senior Agriculture Reporter
Preparations for the 2022 tobacco marketing season have started with farmers expecting a review in the foreign currency retention.
Farmers are also calling for an incentive such as the Command Tobacco programme so they can be able to go back to the land and also register profits.
Growers were last season getting 60 percent of their money in foreign currency and 40 percent was converted at the prevailing auction exchange rate on the day of sale and paid in local currency.
The Tobacco Industry and Marketing Board is also embarking on a crop assessment to determine the state of the crop and help establish dates for the opening of this year’s marketing season.
Tobacco Association of Zimbabwe president Mr George Seremwe yesterday said stakeholder consultations were underway.
“Preparations for the marketing season have started and currently stakeholders are consulting on a number of issues. We are engaging the TIMB, the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe.
“Our expectations are that there could be a review of foreign currency so that we can retain a huge percentage and remain viable. Inputs prices have increased. Fertiliser prices have skyrocketed while labour is now demanding foreign currency. So we need more foreign currency,” he said.
TIMB spokesperson, Ms Chelesani Moyo said starting today, TIMB with other key stakeholders are embarking on a national crop assessment exercise. The aim is to predict national yield and qualities,” she said.
According to the TIMB, by December 31, more than 121 000 farmers had registered for tobacco for the 2021/22 season. This is a decline from the 144 462 growers who had registered during the same period last year.
In most areas rainfed tobacco ranges from early vegetative to topping while farmers with an early planted irrigated crop have started reaping and curing ins in progress.