Commercial Farmers' Union of Zimbabwe

Commercial Farmers' Union of Zimbabwe

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Tobacco season to be pushed back

Tobacco season to be pushed back

Business Reporter
The start of the 2015 tobacco marketing season is likely to be pushed back by about a month from the traditional mid-February as farmers are still busy in the fields.

Tobacco Industry and Marketing Board chief executive Dr Andrew Matibiri said that most of the dry land crop, which constitutes most of the tobacco grown, was still in the early stages of maturing.

“Our teams are still going around the country to assess the condition of the crop but it appears that we will be late this year due to the rains.

“The season is most likely to open in March but a clearer position will emerge when the board meets next week,” he said.

Dr Matibiri, however, said that most farmers who grew the irrigated crop were now curing the crop but this was largely destined for the contract system.

The country’s tobacco is sold under two systems, the auction where individual farmers sell the crop at the auction floors and the contract where farmers are contracted to produce the crop by a contractor who supplies them with inputs.

The contract system has in recent season been preferred by most farmers ahead of the auction system.

During the 2014 season the contracted tobacco contributed 165,5 million kg which was 76,5 percent of the total production, while 50,7 million kg representing 23,5 percent came from auctioned tobacco.

Meanwhile, the rains that fell across the country have raised fears that this year’s production will be lower than last year.

A stakeholder in the tobacco industry said that the decline was however likely to be marginal.

“The meteorological department has forecast cyclone-induced floods in some parts of the country and while we might not be sure of the extent that the floods will have on the crop, there is likely to be some effect,” said the stakeholder.

Zimbabwe’s tobacco production, which fell from a peak of 236,6 million kg in 2000 to 48 million in 2008, has been on the rebound reaching 140 000 tonnes in 2012 and 216,2 million kg.


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