Home » Industry » TRB Invests U.S $6 Million Annually in Research

The Tobacco Research Board (TRB) says it is investing $6 million annually in research to maintain the country’s golden leaf as a premium global brand. In an interview, TRB chief executive Dr Dahlia Garwe said the board’s efforts are purposefully designed to meet the current and perceived future needs of the tobacco industry. “The TRB spends between $5 and $6 million on research, annually. We believe the relevant and practical research efforts by the Tobacco Research Board purposefully designed to meet the current and perceived future needs of the industry is what has enabled the Zimbabwean tobacco leaf to remain a brand of choice internationally,” she said.

Dr Garwe said TRB has since inception, continued to provide the Zimbabwean grower with superior, high-quality and multi-disease resistant tobacco varieties that maximize grower returns, while optimising trade requirements.

“The versatility of our varieties has allowed them to be successfully grown throughout Zimbabwe, including traditionally non-tobacco growing areas.

“This provision of new cultivars has always been accompanied by the requisite science-based information and aisory on best management and crop protection practices, enabling growers to attain the best possible yields.”

Dr Garwe said training of growers is one of the most important activities TRB undertakes and sessions are conducted on and off-station throughout the year. She said TRB has trained over 20 000 growers in the current season alone.

“In 2011, a new training platform, Kutsaga Tobacco Improved Productivity Sites (Kutsaga TIPS), which are group-based learning hubs where tobacco expansionists, agrochemical representatives and growers are taught skills in sustainable and profitable tobacco production was introduced.

“Annually, since then, some ~70 sites are established in all tobacco growing regions of Zimbabwe and some ~400 expansionists and well over 20 000 growers are interacted with in the season. This approach has enabled the TRB to better cope with an ever increasing number of registered tobacco growers,” she said.

TRB produced 3 000 haequivalent worth of seedlings of different varieties for sale which are still available for purchase from all three TRB stations namely Kutsaga, Banket and Masvingo.

According to TIMB this was a 21 percent increase from last season. The acting GM said Kutsaga Seed is exporting 10 percent of the total seed produced annually.

Source : The Herald