Tobacco hectarage declines 2.5%

Tobacco hectarage declines 2.5%
Published: 08 January 2018
THE area put under tobacco in the 2017/18 cropping season has declined by 2.5 percent to 79 335 hectares on last year's figures.

Latest statistics from the Tobacco Industry and Marketing Board (TIMB) show that during the comparable period in the 2016/17 cropping season, 81 328ha were planted under tobacco.

Of the 79 335ha so far planted, 14 991ha were for the irrigated crop while 64 344 were under dry land or rain-fed.

During the comparable period in the 2016/17 cropping season, 16 418ha were for the irrigated crop while dry land accounted for 64 885ha. The golden leaf is mainly grown in Mashonaland West, Mashonaland Central, Manicaland, Mashonaland East, Masvingo, Matabeleland South and the Midlands.

As at December 21, 2017, TIMB revealed that Mashonaland West had the largest hectarage under tobacco accounting for 32 054ha followed by Mashonaland Central with 16 965ha.

Manicaland accounted for 15 453ha followed by Mashonaland East 14 726ha while the Midlands accounted for 89ha.

Masvingo and Matabeleland South provinces during the period under review accounted for 46ha and 2ha respectively.

Agriculture economist Mr Thomas Nherera said:

"The decline in the overall area planted under tobacco crop so far is due to the late onset of the rains this season as most farmers depend on the rains for planting. And as we speak some of the farmers who are dependent on the rains are still planting."

On the irrigated crop, he said some farmers were now harvesting in preparation of the opening of the marketing season in the next few weeks.

TIMB has announced plans to decentralise tobacco floors to decongest the auction floors in Harare.

The marketing board's spokesperson Mr Isheunesu Moyo said this marketing season tobacco floors will "certainly" be decentralised.

"It is certain that the tobacco floors decentralisation begins this selling season with the first floors under the decentralisation arrangement expected to open in Karoi, Rusape and Mvurwi.

"Some of the advantages of decentralisation are; decongestion of Harare, promotion of infrastructural development and business growth in areas where tobacco would be sold from," he said.

Mr Moyo said stakeholders in the tobacco sector were yet to come up with a date on when the selling season will open this year. Since the adoption of a multi-currency system in February 2009, the golden leaf has been pivotal in enhancing liquidity and foreign currency availability.

Last year, tobacco export receipts accounted for $904 million while in 2016 about $933 million was generated.
- zimpapers
Tags: Tobacco,


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