Kudakwashe Chidziya Post Correspondent
KUTSAGA Tobacco Research Board management has urged farmers in Burma Valley to take up the production of a new variety of cigar tobacco that is resistant to diseases mostly found in the area to increase production.
The new variety, a cross breed of two varieties that have been giving farmers problems over the past years, is expected to improve the quality of tobacco leaves.
Speaking at a field day at Mapeto Farm in Burma Valley to raise awareness on the new cross-breed, TRB general manager Dr Dahlia Garwe said the purpose of the field day was to educate Burley tobacco farmers on new farming technologies in tobacco farming.
“Regarding Manicaland farmers, we are working closely with them for them to adapt the latest technology needed in tobacco production. We have also new variety robust seedlings which will suit the conditions of Burma Valley which we urge farmers to use for better yield. The new seed will guarantee farmers quality tobacco which will see them making more profit on the International market.
The new crossbreed is best for the area,” she said.
Cigar and Burley tobacco farmers had been over the past years using an imported seed variety which was failing to grow well in the area.
The seed was producing poor leaves with spots which compromised the quality of the tobacco resulting in low purchase bid on the market.
Local farmers welcomed the new seed variety which most said would enhance production and lower production costs. They said cigar tobacco required spotless leaves and the new seed would suit the conditions in Burma Valley best.
Zimbabwe is one of the biggest producers of tobacco on the continent enjoying a lucrative market niche in Germany, China, Belgium and many other countries.
Mr Andrew Edmondson, a senior German leaf buyer for Von Eicken, said the new seed would definitely increase market value for tobacco from Burma Valley.
“We need good grade of tobacco especially for Cigar. Remember cigar tobacco leaves are also needed for cigar wraps so we need spotless leaves.
“Farmers should embrace good seeds which are disease resistant so that the quality meets our standards,” he said.