How to Grow Tobacco in Zimbabwe

Tobacco is the common name of several plants in the genus Nicotiana of the family Solanaceae, and the general term for any product prepared from the cured leaves of these plants. More than 70 species of tobacco are known, but the chief commercial crop is N. tabacum. 

Transplanting tobacco to achieve a good crop stand is an important exercise which ultimately determines crop growth, development and yield. Growers should aspire to obtain close to 100% crop establishment after the transplanting exercise and this is achievable if certain agronomic and crop protection practices are followed. In Zimbabwe, tobacco is grown under irrigation (September planting) or as a dry-land, rainfed crop (October – December ). Generally, the earlier the planting date, the higher the yields. The recently released Kutsaga varieties such as K RK66, T71 and T72 have a yield potential of over 4 500 kg/ha when grown under optimum conditions. Below are the recommended cultural practices that enhance the yield and quality of a tobacco crop.

Ideal seedlings for planting

Like any other crop, it is important, to begin with, good seedlings if the grower is to obtain maximum yield and quality (Fig. 4). Tobacco seedlings are raised either in conventional beds or in the float tray seedling production system. For the conventional system, seedlings are hardened by not watering them for at least two weeks prior to the planting day. In the flatbed system, a good fertilizer application

programme ensures seedlings are well-hardened before transplanting. Hardening in the float system is through nutrient stress. An ideal seedling ready for planting should be well-hardened, 15 cm long and at least 5 mm thick (Fig 4).

Where is tobacco grown in Zimbabwe?

Tobacco growing is widely distributed over Zimbabwe. Of the 10 provinces in Zimbabwe, Manicaland is the fourth-largest producer of leaf tobacco, after Mashonaland West, Mashonaland Central and Mashonaland East.

How much is the tobacco per kg in Zimbabwe?

The opening price this year was 4.60 U.S. dollars per kg, slightly up from 4.30 dollars last year. Over the course of the selling season, prices remained firm, averaging above 3 dollars per kg compared to an average of 2.80 dollars per kg last year.

Is tobacco farming profitable in Zimbabwe?

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Zimbabwe is Africa’s leading tobacco-growing nation and the world’s fourth-largest after China, Brazil and India. The Zimbabwe Tobacco Association says the crop offers higher economic returns per hectare than other major annual crops grown in the country.

Which season do we plant tobacco in Zimbabwe?

Tobacco growers in Zimbabwe have started preparing the land to plant their irrigated tobacco crop in early September, reports The Herald. Sept. 1 is the earliest legislative date for transplanting tobacco from the seedbed to the field.