Business

Tobacco board keen to support farmers

TRYNESS TEMBO, Lusaka
IN AN effort to address challenges faced by tobacco farmers, the Tobacco Board of Zambia (TBZ) is eager to provide skills to farmers to help them increase yields.
Currently, one of the challenges faced by smallholder tobacco farmers is low yield which is affecting their returns from the crop.
TBZ chief executive officer Samson Muyembe said for farmers to ensure that they harvest high quality tobacco, it has to start with the way they look after the nursery by using good varieties of seed and carrying out all culture practices to ensure the seedlings are disease-free.
“…There is need for them [farmers] to the necessary skills which can enable them to have harvest high-quality crops [and] to get high income from the crop. When it comes to tobacco, it is sold in grades and the highest quality fetches for as high as US$5 per kilogramme while the lowest fetches for about five cents and at times it is rejected by the buyer,” Mr Muyembe said in an interview recently.
He said farmers will be able to identify the right fertiliser and seeds needed to have good yields once they have the technique.
Mr Muyembe also said the continued fluctuation of the Kwacha will benefit tobacco farmers during the 2015/16 marketing season because the crop is sold in United States (US) dollar.
“When farmers supply the commodity to buyers, they are paid at the prevailing rate of the local currency. Despite the Kwacha depreciating, the dollar is stable, meaning farmers will get more money for household use,” he said.

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