Agriculture Reporter THE Tobacco Industry and Marketing Board (TI
THE Tobacco Industry and Marketing Board (TIMB) is training farmers to use sustainable practices for tobacco production amid growing calls by the Framework Convention Tobacco Control (FCTC) for growers to adopt ecologically responsive methods.
Speaking on the backdrop of such training in Murehwa recently, TIMB public affairs officer Mrs Chelesani Tsarwe said Statutory Instrument 116 of 2012 demanded the mandatory establishment of woodlots of at least 0, 3hactres per every hectare of tobacco grown, therefore growers were educated on the need to grow trees.
“There was a reasonable crowd made up of mainly tobacco growers and nearly 40 chiefs and headmen. The group acknowledged the presence of information gaps and expressed willingness to embark on afforestation programmes,” said Mrs Tsarwe adding that the involvement of opinion leaders in the programme would help in the dissemination of information on sustainable tobacco production practices in the communities quickly.
In addition, one the of the critical touchpoints of the tobacco production sector towards sustainability is doing away with child labour and exploitation.
Mrs Tsarwe added: “Farmers were also made aware of the actual meaning of child labour as well as tasks that are considered as hazardous to children. The farmers are therefore encouraged to avoid and report child labour as part of efforts to end the practice in the tobacco sector.”
Tobacco farming is threatened with being phased out or restricted to very small hectarages globally following concerted lobbying by FCTC and environmentalist groups for production of the crop to be controlled or stopped to curtail its perceived harmful effects on the environment and health of farm workers.
Detrimental environmental effects include soil nutrient depletion and deforestation, thanks to widespread wood cutting for fuel to cure the golden leaf.
More so, TIMB is partnering with Tobacco Research Board (TRB) to provide tobacco farmers with free gum tree seedlings and support as they push farmers to plant more trees this farming season.
The Government is also pressing on climate smart agriculture and use of the float system, as a sustainable way of tobacco production amid calls from international buyers to deviate from climate threatening methods.
TIMB is also encouraging the use of float system, which cuts on the use of methyl bromide and other dangerous substances that affect the environment.
“Farmers have been using Methyl bromide the chemical to control weeds. The chemical has since been banned after being accused of harming the environment and posing health dangers to people and other living organisms. As the Tobacco Research Board (TRB) we had to come up with the float tray system to combat nematodes and weeds while being climate smart,” said TRB training manager Mr Goodson Khuddu recently.
Routine training of tobacco growers has been taking place in the tobacco growing regions of Mashonaland West, Central, East and Manicaland every year, as a way of trying to protect the environment and also give farmers a leeway to produce a cash-generating crop.
MB) is training farmers to use sustainable practices for tobacco production amid growing calls by the Framework Convention Tobacco Control (FCTC) for growers to adopt ecologically responsive methods. Speaking on the backdrop of such training in Murehwa recently, TIMB public affairs officer Mrs Chelesani Tsarwe said Statutory […]