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Wednesday, May 29, 2024

Tobacco farmers gear up for opening of sales floors

Story by Tarirai Madhuyu

THE opening of tobacco floors on March 13th has ignited hope for a positive marketing season, with many farmers across the country finalising the curing and grading of their tobacco ahead of the opening date

The 2023/24 farming season proved difficult for most tobacco farmers due to harsh El Niño-induced weather conditions, resulting in below-average rainfall.

However, some of the farmers who relied on irrigation remain optimistic saying the irrigated crop is ready for delivery as soon as the floors open.

“The stage we are at right now is the most critical, where we make the good in the quality of our tobacco, if we cure the crop properly we get good grades, but we cure randomly we get poor grades and our prices wont be good,” said a farmer.

Tobacco remains a profitable cash crop compared to others, but profitability relies heavily on diligent work during the curing and grading stages.

“Profit comes from quality and here our quality begins in the field and finalised in the curing facilities which we upgraded to match the global standards of growing tobacco sustainably. Right now, we are already bailing most of our irrigated crop while we wait for the opening of floors,” said yet another farmer.

As a crucial foreign currency earner, the upcoming opening of auction floors will boost the confidence of farmers who braved challenging weather conditions.

Similar to the previous year, farmers remain optimistic about higher prices, reflecting their efforts in enhancing the quality of their leaf to meet international standards.

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