Commercial Farmers' Union of Zimbabwe

Commercial Farmers' Union of Zimbabwe

***The views expressed in the articles published on this website DO NOT necessarily express the views of the Commercial Farmers' Union.***



Stories by Elita Chikwati, Agriculture Reporter

Protect natural resources: EMA 

Farmers should see economic value in natural resources and use them to improve their livelihoods, an Environmental Management Agency official has said.

Speaking at EMA’s stand at the Harare Agricultural Show yesterday, the agency’s public relations manager, Mr Rambwayi Mapako, said it was unfortunate that people were destroying natural resouces through veld fires yet they could earn a living from them.

“Instead of burning grass, farmers should see the economic value in it. We encourage them to harvest it and make hay bales for feeding livestock or selling to other livestock producers and get an income. They can also harvest thatching grass which they can sell. If they leave the grass, there could be risks of veld fires,” said Mr Mapako.

“We have recorded 281 000 hectares of land that have been destroyed by veld fires to date and no people were killed or injured. Last year 12 people died in veld fires while 212 000 hectares of land were destroyed,” he said.

“The increase in the land destroyed by fire can be caused by plenty of grass in areas that received high rainfall last season. It can also be an indicator that more people are not taking heed of our awareness campaigns to make fireguards,” he said.

Mr Mapako encouraged people to take part in the conservation of the natural resources and not leave it to the regulatory authorities.

Tobacco growers get tips from TIMB

The Tobacco Industry and Marketing Board is educating tobacco farmers attending this year’s Harare Agricultural Show on proper agronomic practices to produce a quality crop that fetches high prices on the market.

Farmers this season complained of poor prices at the auction floors while others cancelled sales to protest the unviable prices.

TIMB public relations manager Mr Ishemunyoro Moyo yesterday said the show had given the board an opportunity to meet with farmers face-to-face to discuss their challenges.

“Last season farmers were complaining of low prices that prevailed at the auction floors and now we want to show them different qualities of the crop and explain to them what buyers look for in a crop. The quality of the crop will determine the price on the market. Some farmers got low prices at the contract floors because of their low quality crop,” said Mr Moyo.

“Some contractors pay farmers higher prices as motivation and to reduce cases of side marketing since the companies contribute towards production of the crop,” he said.

Mr Moyo said every year more than 15 000 farmers join the tobacco industry but they lacked knowledge of the global market trends.

“Farmers should pay attention to timeous planting and application of fertlisers and chemicals. It is important that farmers adhere to good seedling management, on time land preparation, weeding, removal of suckers, topping, and reaping on time. Reaping too early will cause greens while reaping too late will result in an over-ripened crop,” he said.

He said curing should be done properly under evenly distributed temperatures.

“Grading and presentation of the crop for sale is important. Farmers should not mix grades and should seek advice from experts,” he said.

Mr Moyo said the TIMB had decentralised its operations to farming areas to train farmers on tobacco production.

“TIMB is training farmers from seedbed establishment to marketing. The technical team also disseminates general information related to tobacco production and farming.

“TIMB has established an SMS platform to reach out to all registered tobacco producers, giving them tobacco production and marketing-related information,” he said.


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