|Tobacco reaping at an advanced stage|
|Saturday, 21 January 2012 12:55|
TOBACCO reaping is now at an advanced stage in Manicaland, amid reports that most farmers are harvesting proper leaves of the largely ripe irrigated crop.
Agritex head for Manicaland, Mr Godfrey Mamhare, on Wednesday confirmed that tobacco harvesting in the province, which started mid-December was at an advanced stage.
The crop was planted in October.
He said harvesting for the dryland was expected to start mid-February.
"The condition of the crop is very impressive. We have one of the best tobacco crops in the country and we want to advise our farmers to continue taking maximum caring of the crop to get the best out of it."
Buhera has hit the 23 000 hectare mark of maize compared to 11 000ha last year, the third in the province after Chimanimani (86 000ha) and Makoni 51 123ha.
“This is to avert grading complications as well as to improve the quality of the leaves during the curing process," explained Mr Mamhare.
However, Mr Mamhare warned other farmers of the danger of cutting down trees to cure the golden leaf.
Substantial amounts of wood are used for fuel in tobacco curing, drying the leaves of the plant.
"We do not want to see a situation where plenty of forests and woodlands are cut down to cure the tobacco crop. Farmers must use coal or electricity for their curing purposes, and not indiscriminately cut down indigenous trees. We must conserve our forests and farmers whose barns are designed for woodfuel must buy timber from forestry companies and spare the indigenous trees," said Mr Mamhare.
Tobacco farmers usually prefer indigenous trees like Mutondo, Mupfuti, Musasa and Muunze trees, which have become endangered species.