The Minister of State for Mashonaland East Provincial Affairs, Retired Brigadier General Ambrose Mutinhiri says there is need for tobacco farmers to diversify into other cash crops and remain viable.

With the country heavily relying on tobacco, the risk that comes with the crop requires farmers to diversify into other cash crops.

Addressing farmers and service providers at a tobacco growers forum organised by Boka Floors at the Marondera showgrounds, Retired Brigadier General Mutinhiri said the falling global demand and prices for tobacco call for the need to come up with the right blend of crop enterprises.

The auction floor has already introduced a new variety of crop called Chia, which the floor’s Managing Director, Rudo Boka said is an alternative to tobacco and has medicinal and nutritional benefits in addition to being a lucrative cash crop.

The growers forum, which drew farmers from Mashonaland East Province and Headlands in Manicaland Province, was meant to facilitate better understanding of trading requirements to tobacco growers and also interact with service providers.