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Preparations for the 2015 tobacco planting season have started, with more than 827 010 grammes of tobacco seeds that can cover 23 420 hectares having been sold, the Tobacco Industry and Marketing Board has revealed. TIMB said in its latest bulletin that seed sales had gone up by six percent as compared to the same period last year when 781 135 grammes enough for 130 189 hectares had been sold.

Tobacco production landscape for Zimbabwe has changed and the growth in grower numbers has been phenomenal, with about 106 127 growers having registered for the 2014 season compared to about 90 879 who had registered by the same period last year.

To date 60 110 farmers have registered for the 2015 season, with communal farmers leading the list at 27 660 followed by 22 577 A1 farmers, 5 103 A2 farmers and 4 775 small-scale commercial farmers.

Mashonaland West recorded the highest number of farmers with 20 625, whilst Matabeleland recorded the least with five farmers having registered. The seed sales commenced mid May at the Tobacco Research Board and the Zimbabwe Tobacco Seed Association.

Planting of the irrigated tobacco starts on September 1 every year, while rain fed tobacco is planted starting in October to early December, depending on the region in which the farmer is located.

Zimbabwe earned about US$658 million from the sale of 207,3 kilogrammes of tobacco last season, against a projection of 185 million kilogrammes.

Source : The Herald