30 November 2012

Zimbabwe: Dryland Tobacco Shows Moisture Stress

The continuous dry weather conditions in some parts of the country are affecting dryland tobacco which is now showing signs of moisture stress.

Zimbabwe Commercial Farmers Union president Mr Wonder Chabikwa said some farmers had been practicing supplementary irrigation as they hoped the rains would be early.

"The irrigated crop is looking good while in some areas especially in Beatrice, the dryland crop has been badly affected and is already showing signs of wilting," he said.

Mr Chabikwa said the dry weather conditions could affect yields if they persisted for the next two weeks.

"The crop can recover if we receive rains in the next seven days, but if the dry weather condition continues, we might no get to the targeted yield," he said.

The Meteorological Services Department recently indicated that the daily total rainfall will decrease from yesterday up to Sunday.

Meanwhile, tobacco growers continue to register to grow the crop this season.

Latest Tobacco Industry and Marketing Board statistics show that 62 743 farmers have so far registered compared to 32 416 who had registered by the same time last season.

The shift to tobacco has been attributed to the high prices being offered buyers.

The drop in cotton prices this year has also forced many farmers to switch to tobacco.

Tobacco production is on the increase with 170 million kilogrammes expected to be produced during the 2012/13 cropping season up from the 144 million kilogrammes that were produced last season.

Government has set a target of 85 000 hectares to be put under tobacco this season.

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