Elita Chikwati, Harare Bureau
The Tobacco Industry and Marketing Board and Agritex are conducting a crop assessment in all tobacco growing areas that will be used to prepare a crop estimate for the 2016 marketing season as well as help determine the opening dates for this year’s marketing season.
The tobacco season last year started in March instead of February as most farmers were still busy in their fields.
TIMB public relations manager, Isheunesu Moyo said their officers were on the ground in all provinces to assess readiness of the farmers for the season.
“The crop estimate will enable us to prepare adequately for the season. Most farmers who had an irrigated crop are reaping and curing but the crop quality has been affected by the hot weather,” he said.
Moyo said TIMB was going to use the e-marketing technology this year in order to improve the marketing system.
The introduction of e-marketing at Zimbabwe’s auction floors is aimed at increasing transparency in the tobacco business especially the selling of the crop.
India is facilitating the software and the hardware while the other equipment will be obtained from local companies.
Tobacco production has been on the increase for the past years with farmers switching from crops such as maize and cotton to the the lucrative golden leaf.
Farmers have however been complaining about the ceiling price of $4,99 per kilogramme at the auction floors while contract floors offer prices above $5 per kg.
According to contractors, the prices at the contract floors are higher to incentives the farmers and also reward them for not side marketing the crop.