Home » General » ZFU, TIMB TRAINING ZIMBABWEAN FARMERS TO HANDLE TOBACCO FOR MARKETING

HARARE, Feb 25 — The Zimbabwe Farmers Union (ZFU) and the Tobacco Industry and Marketing Board (TIMB) are training farmers to handle tobacco for marketing in a bid to reduce the number of bales rejected at selling points.

A considerable number of bales are rejected at the tobacco auction floors for various reasons, including nestling, poor grading and wrong packaging.

A ZFU official said the association was conducting the training in partnership with the TIMB in Mashonaland East, West, Central and Manicaland provinces. “This is in light of the growing number of new farmers taking up tobacco farming and the need to limit the number of bales which are rejected at the floors on grounds of poor quality and grading,” he said.

“So the training is meant to build the capacity of farmers around the areas of boosting average yields per hectare and the need to improve quality.”

The official said the training was also aimed at reminding farmers to adhere to legislative dates on destroying tobacco residues in the field, adding that farmers had received the sessions well. “Most of them do acknowledge that they need training to effectively produce tobacco,” he added.

“The training has also given farmers the platform to raise concerns around the production and marketing of the golden leaf, chief of which are perceived lower prices at the auction floors, lengthy time that auction officials take to process transactions leading farmers to spend more days at the floors.”

In 2014, total flue tobacco production amounted to 216 million kilogrammes, earning the country 684 million US dollars. This year Zimbabwe projects to produce up to 220 million kg of tobacco.

The tobacco marketing season, which normally starts in mid-February, will this year open in March following delayed rains and subsequent late maturing of the crop.

SOURCE: NEW ZIANA

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