Home » Politics » MORE THAN 14,000 NEW FARMERS WANT TO GROW TOBACCO IN ZIMBABWE

At least 14,100 farmers have registered to grow tobacco for the first time during the 2016/17 crop season, a 57 per cent increase from the comparable period last year, the industry regulator says.

Tobacco is now Zimbabwe's single largest export commodity, ahead of platinum and gold and the latest statistics from the Tobacco Industry Marketing Board (TIMB) show that 14,101 farmers have registered to grow the golden leaf for the first time as at the end of December 2016, up from about 9,000 farmers planting tobacco for the first time in the comparable period last year.

Mashonaland Central Province has the largest number of new growers, followed by Mashonaland West, Manicaland, Mashonaland East, Midlands and Masvingo provinces.

Of the 14,101 new tobacco growers, at least 7,253 were communal farmers, while 5,961 were A1 farmers, at least 538 were A2 farmers and at least 349 small-scale commercial farmers, the TIMB says.

Since the country started using a basket of foreign currencies in place of its own Zimbabwean dollar in 2009, the tobacco industry has been one of the fastest to recover from the economic meltdown of the past decade.

Many communal farmers have been abandoning other cash crops such as cotton for tobacco because of the favourable prices.

Meanwhile, the TIMB said at least 66,554 hectares of land had been put under tobacco so far this crop season, an increase from 56,623 hectares planted in the same period last year. Of the total, 51,998 hectares were dry-land tobacco while the remainder is an irrigated crop.

The TIMB also said 164.5 million kilogrammes of the golden leaf had been exported so far valued at 933.6 million US dollars. Zimbabwe expots tobacco to countries like China, South Africa, Belgium, the United Arab Emirates (uae), Indonesia, Sudan and Russia among others.

Source: NAM NEWS NETWORK

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