• April 13, 2024

Zimbabwe farmers subsidizing tobacco buyers

Fearful that Zimbabwe’s farmers may abandon tobacco growing because of below-cost-of-production prices this year, the government is ‘engaging and pleading’ with them to continue growing the crop, according to a New Zimbabwe story.

During a meeting at Windrush Chiseve, a farm in Marondera, which was attended by hundreds of small-scale farmers last week, the majority said they had abandoned tobacco because low auction-floor prices had meant that they failed to recoup their costs.

Officials from the Department of Agricultural Research and Extension Service, the Tobacco Research Board and the Zimbabwe Farmers’ Union pleaded with the farmers not to abandon the crop. They said tobacco remained one of the key sectors helping to boost the country’s ailing economy.

Goodson Khudu, a Research Board official was quoted as telling farmers that tobacco was helping “in resuscitating” the country’s economy and that they “should not lose hope in continuing to grow the crop”.

“Instead, you should opt for float bed sowing, which has several advantages over tobacco seedling production alternatives as they produce superior seedlings that are drought resistant,” Khudu told the farmers.

He urged the farmers to use more fertilizer, water and chemicals in order to yield a quality crop.

Nowhere in the story was it explained how farmers were expected to survive on prices that didn’t cover expenses.

Nowhere was it explained how the lot of farmers could be improved by their using more fertilizer and, therefore, increasing their costs at a time of below-cost-of-production prices.

And nowhere was it explained why farmers should subsidize the cost of tobacco bought by Zimbabwe’s customers.