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Friday, July 12, 2024
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New tobacco hybrids introduced

Story by Peter Chivhima

TOBACCO output in the country is set to continue growing in leaps and bounds, after the introduction of climate-smart tobacco genetics which are set to benefit farmers outside the traditional tobacco-growing regions.

Traditionally, tobacco production in Zimbabwe was concentrated in the north, central and eastern parts of the country, with varieties developed specifically to cater for these regions.

Through increased research spearheaded by Kutsaga Research Station, growers outside traditional tobacco growing regions are expected to benefit from new hybrids introduced for the  2023-24 tobacco growing season.

The new tobacco genetics are T78, T79, T80, and T81 which are on trial.

Kutsaga Research Station Chief Executive Officer Dr Frank Magama highlighted the need for research in transforming the agriculture sector, while Zimbabwe Tobacco Growers Association president Mr George Seremwe applauded the government interventions in the sector.

“The Research itself is the bedrock of the country’s economy, 83 percent of our revenue comes from research and we are focusing more on research so that we offer Zimbabwe growers the advantages of profitability and sustainability which will empower the farmer. We are also diversifying our farming so that we fit into National Development Strategy One,” said Dr Magama.

“We want to thank the government for interventions in cushioning farmers so that they realise a profit. The government is also protecting farmers from unscrupulous individuals,” said Mr Seremwe.

The Deputy Minister of Lands, Agriculture, Fisheries, Water and Rural Development, Honourable Davis Marapira revealed that the country targets to export more than 300 million kilogrammes of the golden leaf this marketing season.

“Our mandate is to provide elite varieties, science-based practical information, services and products to enable the attainment of the set target of 300 million kg as outlined in the Tobacco Value Chain Transformation Plan,” he said.

Data from the Tobacco Industry Marketing Board indicates that Zimbabwe has so far recorded the highest tobacco output in its history, with sales for the ongoing marketing season already raking in more than 270 million kilogrammes, surpassing the previous record of around 250 million kilogrammes attained in 2019.

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