Farmers request more time to destroy tobacco stalks

Tobacco farmers have appealed to the Tobacco Industry and Marketing Board (TIMB) asking for more time to destroy their tobacco stalks, reports The Herald.

The TIMB had announced 25 May as the last day for the destruction of tobacco stalks, which is already later than the traditional 15 May deadline, however farmers are now asking for a longer extension saying late rains had interfered with the harvesting of their crop.
Under normal circumstances, tobacco stalks need to be destroyed by 15 May every year as per the Plant Pests and Diseases Act (Chapter 19:08). However, this year, some farmers still have tobacco plants with leaves yet to ripen a situation that can be put down to climate change with current cold temperatures delaying the ripening process and many farmers planting late.
“The deadline should be further extended to the first week of June to cater mainly for rain dependent smallholder farmers who have not yet completed harvesting while their predicament is also coupled by the twin evil of inadequate barn storage capacity,” said the president of the Zimbabwe National Farmers Union (ZNFU), Mrs Monica Chinamasa.
Tobacco stalks act as hosts for diseases and pests and thus need to be destroyed and no seedbeds be established before this has been done. “Farmers should always destroy tobacco stalks by the date set by TIMB to ensure there is a dead period in the fields when there are no crops growing. This will help break pest and disease cycles,” said the president of the Zimbabwe Integrated Commercial Farmers Union (ZICFU), Mrs Mayiwepi.
According to The Herald, it was against above sentiments that the TIMB had extended the 2022 deadline for the destruction of tobacco stalks to 25 May on condition that tobacco growers are to destroy tobacco stalks immediately after harvesting. The TIMB said that tobacco growers that do not comply with the deadline would face legislative penalties.

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