• May 21, 2024

Tobacco Farmers Urged to Destroy Stalks

 Tobacco Farmers Urged to Destroy Stalks
Image: Tobacco Reporter archive

Zimbabwe’s Tobacco Industry and Marketing Board (TIMB) is urging tobacco growers who have not destroyed tobacco plant stalks to immediately destroy them to avoid carrying diseases and pests to the next crop, reports The Chronicle.

The TIMB stated that according to the Plant Pests and Disease Act, tobacco stalks must be destroyed by May 15 every year. Failure to comply with regulations brings penalties, including contract suspension and monetary fines or imprisonment.

“Against this backdrop, tobacco growers are being reminded that all tobacco stalks should have been destroyed by now. Those who have not destroyed stalks are reminded to destroy their stalks immediately to avoid carrying over diseases and pests to the next crop,” the TIMB stated.

“As we destroy tobacco stalks, we are also reminded to observe the set tobacco legislative date of Sept. 1, the earliest date to transplant tobacco. Planting tobacco before this set date will attract penalties and sanctions.

“If 10 percent of the contracted farmers are noncompliant, the responsible contractor will be penalized or suspended from operations until they comply fully. Therefore, no contractor will contract a farmer who has not destroyed their tobacco stalks. Any grower who has not destroyed tobacco stalks and has been contracted shall be de-contracted from that contract scheme. Please note that TIMB and Ministry of Lands officers are inspecting all fields and compiling lists of all noncompliant farmers.”

A farmer’s first offense will incur a fine of $100 or the local currency equivalent for each hectare or part thereof in respect of which the offense is committed, imprisonment of up to a year or both a fine and imprisonment. A second or subsequent offense will incur a fine up to $200 or the local currency equivalent for each hectare or part thereof in respect of which the offense is committed, imprisonment of up to two years or both a fine and imprisonment.

So far, Zimbabwe has sold over 280 million kg of tobacco. “Given that production has increased, let us take all the precautions to sustain the production and ensure we reach the target of 300 million kg by 2025,” the TIMB said. 

Production is expected to increase by 8.5 percent year-on-year. Earlier this month, press reports suggested Zimbabwe would achieve its 300 million kg target ahead of schedule.