So far more than 45 000 farmers countrywide have registered to grow tobacco in 2010/11 agricultural season ahead of the registration deadline at the end of the month. Growers are required to register with the TIMB annually. TIMB has embarked on a mobile registration exercise in tobacco growing regions to ensure that all farmers interested in growing the crop obtained grower registration numbers.
Dr Matibiri said they were projecting that the number of tobacco farmers interested to grow the crop in the next coming season to reach 75 000. “The enthusiasm to grow tobacco is very much there as evidenced by inquiries that we continue to receive. This year we had 52 000 registered growers and in the next season we are projecting that the figure could reach 75 000. To date about 45 387 growers have registered,” he said.
Dr Matibiri said they had also sold enough seed to produce seedlings for over 100 000 hectares compared to 67 000 hectares grown in the 2009/10. Meanwhile, he said sales were still continuing to mop up tobacco deliveries that had not been delivered prior to the closure of the marketing season last month. Tobacco has so far earned the country US$355,276,031 from the sale of 123 295 314 kilogrammes at an average price of US$2.88 per kg. Most of the crop delivered came through the contract system resulting in 80 575 384 kg being sold while 42 719 930 kg was obtained through the auction system.
Last year, tobacco raked in US$168 million from 58 million kg. Since liberalisation of the economy in 2009, the sector has registered an increase in the number of farmers interested in growing the golden leaf.Post published in: Economy