Business

South tobacco farmers’ marketing woes end

CHOMBA MUSIKA, Choma
TOBACCO farmers in Southern Province will no longer have to travel to Lusaka to sell their produce because construction of phase one of the first-ever provincial tobacco floor in Choma district has been completed.
Completion of of the structure, which has so far gobbled about K3 million, includes a concrete slab, roofing, and a dispatch and receiving bay.
In an interview yesterday, Tobacco Board of Zambia (TBZ) chief executive officer Samson Muyembe said the construction of the tobacco floor is confirmation Government’s desire to address the challenges small-scale tobacco farmers face in transporting their produce to the market.
Mr Muyembe said the tobacco floor, whose total cost is K6 million, is expected to be operational in 2015 crop marketing season.
“Phase one of the construction of the tobacco floor has been completed and our small-scale farmers, who previously suffered transport challenges to take their produce to Lusaka, will now conduct their business right at their door step. This is good because small-scale farmers used to complain of transport costs to Lusaka.
“A concrete slab, pillars, and a roof, have been erected under phase one of the project,” he said.
Phase two of the TBZ-funded project will include partitioning the side walls, and construction of a canteen, offices, lavatories, car park and a fence.
Mr Muyembe, who is also TBZ executive secretary, said a team of officers will soon inspect the works done so far by Heroes Construction Limited.
He also revealed that this year’s provincial tobacco harvest is estimated at about 10 million kilograms from the 1,500 small, medium and commercial tobacco growers in the region.
On average, the 65 large-scale tobacco farmers in the region harvest 3,500 kilogrammes per hectare.



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