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Tuesday, May 21, 2024

Tobacco farmers counting losses due to bacteria attacks

Story by Fungai Jachi

THE incessant rains experienced across the country in February and early March have left some small-scale tobacco farmers in Centenary, Mashonaland Central Province counting their losses after their crop fell victim to a bacteria attack known as Angular.

Although the 2022-2023 farming season had good rainfall favourable for crops, the incessant rains received in the past few weeks harmed the golden leaf in some areas.

Some small-scale farmers who were yet to harvest were left counting their losses as their crops have been affected.

”This bacteria attack is now putting us under pressure to harvest and with the rate these leaves are drying up we have lost hope of harvesting all in time,” said a farmer who spoke to the news crew.

Angular is a bacterial disease that is associated with the drying of leaf cells at the maturity stage.

”This rotting of leaves is a disaster to tobacco farming and as it is poor crop management and weather conditions are among the main contributing factors, many small-scale farmers have fallen victim to this disease. It is very important that farmers plant and harvest on time so that such losses are avoided,” said Mr Jabulani Mhundwa, an agronomist.

According to an expert in crop diseases, Angula is a disease in tobacco farming that has no cure.

“It is unfortunate that once Angula attacks there is no cure the only way is for farmers to fortify their crops from seedbed up to the time of harvesting to avoid such surprises,” said Mr Joe Mkandla, a crop chemicals specialist.

The attack by Angula in tobacco crops affects the quality and weight of the leaf as well as puts pressure on the farmer to harvest the crop before maturity.

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