Tobacco farmers plant 13k hactares irrigated crop

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AT LEAST 13 000 hectares of land has been put under irrigated tobacco ahead of the 2020/21 summer cropping season, the industry regulator has said.
Tobacco Industry and Marketing Board chief executive officer Andrew Matibiri said at the weekend the irrigated tobacco hectarage planted so far was almost the same as last year.

“Planting of the irrigated crop has been done; we are now waiting for the main rainfall season to start so that
farmers can plant the dry land crop.

The hectarage planted is almost the same as last year at about 13 000 hectares. The irrigated crop is now out
of the way; farmers are now just waiting for the rain to start,” he said.

Matibiri said the planted tobacco crop was doing well despite the hot temperatures being experienced around
the country.

“The crop is doing fine. What we want normally is when you plant tobacco; you want it to suffer the heat for about
a week or two; that way the roots go down deeper. That way, when the main rains come that’s when the tobacco
starts to grow. At the moment its still hanging in there; there have not been any adverse effects.

“I know there were some reports of hailstorms in Mashonaland East and some parts of Manicaland but that did
not affect the tobacco because it was not yet put down,” he said.

At least 86 365 growers had registered to grow tobacco during the 2020/21 cropping season at the end of
September 2020. In the past few years, tobacco production has been on the increase, with farmers selling a
record 259 million kg last year, up from 253 million kg in 2018. This year, however, production declined to 183
million kg of tobacco owing to difficult weather conditions characterised by delayed rains and
prolonged drought.

Tobacco is Zimbabwe’s second largest foreign currency earner after gold. — New Ziana

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