The Tobacco Industry and Marketing Board (TIMB) is training farmers to grade the crop as it seeks to acquaint them with market requirements and procedures ahead of the 2016 selling season.
The move follows the realisation that many farmers lacked adequate knowledge on grading of the crop, which later created challenges during the marketing season.
TIMB public relations manager Isheunesu Moyo said there was need for stakeholders to have uniform appreciation on tobacco grading hence the training.
“Stakeholders, especially buyers, should agree on the grades of the crop. Since the industry is expanding there is need to have adequate expertise on crop marketing that is why the administrators, buyers and other merchants have to go through the processes starting from the production to marketing,” he said.
Moyo urged merchants to also chip in and give farmers tips on proper agronomic practices so that they produce the best crop required on the market.
“Merchants should also be in a position to assist farmers with technical expertise and during their visits to farmers they must assist them technically,” he said.
The past marketing seasons have been characterised by disputes over prices with farmers boycotting to sell the crop while buyers complained of the poor quality of the crop. — New Ziana.