Tobacco planting, wheat harvesting in full swing

15 Oct, 2021 - 00:10 0 Views
Tobacco planting, wheat harvesting in full swing Manicaland is targeting 26 000ha of irrigated tobacco

The ManicaPost

Samuel Kadungure
Senior Reporter

TRANSPLANTATION of commercial irrigated tobacco for the 2021/22 is in full swing, with growers in the province having planted 2 000 hectares out of the 5 803 hectares planted nationwide to date.

Statistics from the Tobacco Industry and Marketing Board (TIMB) show that in terms of preparations for the forthcoming summer season, 83 938 farmers have registered for the 2021/22 tobacco season compared to 79 134 who registered last year, translating to a six percent increase.

So far, 5 803 hectares have been established nationwide to date, compared to 4 029 hectares planted during the same period last year, which is 44 percent higher.

This is due to the better rains received last season, and improved water supply situation.

As part of the localisation of the financing of tobacco, TIMB has floated tenders for the supply of fertilisers and chemicals.

Manicaland is targeting 26 000ha of irrigated tobacco.

Growers who spoke to The Manica Post confirmed that transplantation of seedlings from nurseries began on September 1, which is the regulated date for growers to start transplanting.

The seedlings being transplanted must be between three to six inches high, and about 40 to 50 days after being planted.

The process must be done carefully as the seedlings are vulnerable to climate variations, diseases and parasites.

Agritex Manicaland provincial tobacco specialist, Mr Douglas Nzarayebani said over 2 000ha have been planted since September 1.

“The bulky of the crop is in Makoni, and we would like to advise tobacco growers to follow the tobacco legislation for them to have good yields.

“They should make sure that there is no trash in tobacco barns as this attracts weevils. They should also make sure that all seedlings have been transplanted by December 31, after which all seedbeds or nurseries must be destroyed. We hope all stalks from last season’s crop have been removed from the fields by now,” said Mr Nzarayebani.

Tobacco Association of Zimbabwe (TAZ) vice-president, Mr David Guy Mutasa said their members across the country were busy in the fields, while those who do the dry land crop are still managing their seedbeds and nurseries.


Farmers in Manicaland are intensifying wheat harvesting

He said the tobacco cycle begins in June, with farmers preparing their nurseries to plant the irrigated crop on September 1, which should be ready for harvesting at the end of November to early December.

“I have done 25 hectares. I am being limited by the labour. There are now too many commercial tobacco farmers around Rusape, and that competition has strained the labour component of the trade. Most farmers have responded by reducing the hectarage. Our members are planting, and the process is going on smoothly,” said Mr Mutasa.

Mr Mutasa is targeting 30ha of irrigated tobacco.

Tobacco Farmers Union Trust (TFUT) president, Mr Victor Mariranyika also said planting was progressing well.

Tobacco is ranked as one of the most economically important non-food crops in Zimbabwe, earning millions of dollars of foreign currency annually, and contributing to improved livelihoods, while employing a number of people.

Meanwhile, farmers in Manicaland are intensifying wheat harvesting, with 65 percent of the crop expected to be harvested by the end of October 2021.

Grain Marketing Board (GMB) has designated 18 intake depots for wheat collection, and is in the process of procuring quality control equipment.

Allocation of combine harvesters, and transporters is being finalised by AFC Bank and GMB.


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