Tobacco farmers roped into wheat production Minister Dr Anxious Masuka

Business Reporter

GOVERNMENT has roped in tobacco farmers under the winter wheat drive as part of efforts to boost domestic production and supply of the cereal.

The move has since been approved by the Cabinet following a presentation on the matter by the Minister of Lands, Agriculture, Fisheries, Water and Rural Development, Dr Anxious Masuka, on Tuesday.

The minister also highlighted the 2021/2022 summer agricultural production season and preparedness for 2022 winter production.

“Pertaining to wheat, Cabinet reports that in order to increase the hectarage under wheat as well as increase the output, tobacco farmers will be roped in to grow the crop,” reads part of the post-Cabinet media briefing.

“The transition to winter wheat by tobacco farmers is a welcome move and will go a long way in boosting supply of the cereal so that we have sufficient domestic stocks.

“Cabinet is pleased to report that the country has sufficient fertilizers for winter-wheat farming. Efforts are also being made to guarantee fertiliser supplies for the summer season.”

Meanwhile, tobacco merchants have to date exported 47,6 million kgs of tobacco valued at US$245 million, compared to 28,7 million kgs worth US$69,6 million exported during the same period in 2021.

“Cabinet noted that reaping and curing are the main activities and are at advanced stages for the irrigated tobacco crop, while weeding, de-suckering and topping are in progress for the late dry-land tobacco crop,” reads the report.

The tobacco marketing season begins today.

On marketing of grain, the nation Cabinet noted that cumulative grain intake now stands at 1 307 711 metric tonnes comprising 987 394 metric tonnes of maize, 208 509 metric tonnes of wheat, 99 695 metric tonnes of traditional grains and 12 113 metric tonnes of soya bean.

Most of the grain delivered to the GMB has been paid for.

Government has also noted that due to the erratic rains some areas are experiencing food deficiency. “Therefore, the Government will increase welfare stocks allocation.  Cabinet assures the nation that there is sufficient maize stocks to feed the nation and cater for those who are food insecure,” reads the report.



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