HARARE – Zimbabwe’s 2018 tobacco selling season is set to begin around April, two months late compared to the aditional February opening because the crop is not yet ripe, the Tobacco Industry and Marketing Board (TIMB) said on Saturday.
TIMB public relations and communications manager Isheunesu Moyo told New Ziana that the tobacco crop is at various stages of growth because farmers planted late due to delayed rains.
“We did a crop assessment and discussed the state of preparedness by all players in the industry from those who provide hessian bags and other packaging materials, contractors, buyers, auction floor operators and fumigators.
“Proposed dates for opening of sales range from 21 March to April because rains came late so the crop is not ready for sale,” he said.
Commenting on the quality of the tobacco crop, Moyo expressed optimism rmers will produce a high quality crop this season despite unfavourable weather conditions that affected the tobacco.
“For the irrigated crop we are expecting an average of 2 300 kg of tobacco per hectare whilst for the dry land crop we are expecting 1 700 kg per hectare. From the late crop which was recently affected by virus, we expect about 1 100 kg per hectare,” said Moyo.
Tobacco is one of the country’s largest foreign currency earners.
Export destinations for Zimbabwean tobacco include China, South Africa, Korea, Sudan, Hong Kong, Indonesia, Philippines, United Kingdom, Spain, New Zealand and Egypt. – New Ziana