The Tobacco Research Board (TRB) has released the full list of approved agro-chemicals for use in tobacco production in compliance with phytosanitary requirements under international trade.
In a statement TRB said: "More than 90 percent of the Zimbabwean tobacco was exported and therefore the crop had to be produced under stringent international agro-chemical regulations for acceptance and maintenance of markets in an increasingly competitive global market."
The statement also stated that compliance with global health standards, correct and safe use of crop protection agents (CPAs) as well as good agronomic practices in tobacco production were key for sustainability of the sector.
"The Tobacco Marketing and Levy Act [Chapter 18:20] mandates the TRB to continually test, approve and monitor all CPAs for use on tobacco under the Pesticide Approval Scheme Service (PASS)," said the statement.
The Act further states that: "No person shall treat any tobacco with a remedy which is not registered nor reap or offer for sale any tobacco treated with a non-registered remedy. Any tobacco so treated will be destroyed without compensation to the grower."
"Where there is infringement of this regulation, the legislation has been used to destroy tobacco in the field or offered for sale," continued the statement.
The full list of approved agro-chemicals contained chemical and trade name of the product, company distributor, old and new certificate number as well as the expiry date with October 31, 2025 being the last expiry date for the sanctioned chemicals.
The agro-chemicals appearing on the list are fungicides, herbicides, suckericides, growth regulators and fertilisers, insecticides and nematicides.
The TRB advised farmers to refer to the Flue-cured tobacco handbook for rates and recommendations as well as to be aware of the toxicity colour triangle codes.
The statement further disclosed that any agro-chemical not appearing on the list was either not currently countenanced by the TRB or had been removed. It went further to reveal that the list of approved agro-chemicals was based on the provisions of the new PASS that came into effect on July 1, of 2011.
The list of agro-chemicals withdrawn from use on tobacco and those that TRB no longer approves or whose approvals will not be renewed was also shown.
Early in the season the TRB, in an advisory notice to farmers, said there were several incidences of abnormally growing plants that had been observed on some farms under irrigated tobacco crops.
The affected plants showed symptoms that included severe stunting and twisting/epinasty, cupping, curling and distortion of leaves. Investigations revealed that some of the used agro-chemicals did not have certificate numbers while there were incidences of the fraudulent use of TRB 2013 numbers on banned chemicals.