The Tobacco Industry and Marketing Board (TIMB) has rolled out the $28.5 million inputs distribution programme with over 22 000 farmers now accessing a full package of inputs to grow the golden leaf this season.

Thousands of farmers converged at various collections points in the tobacco greenbelts to receive tobacco inputs which are being disbursed under the TIMB $28.5 million loan facility to assist small scale farmers boost tobacco production in the country.

The farmers hailed the TIMB loan facility saying it has come at an opportune time as they will take advantage of the onset of the rains to plant their dry land tobacco.

The fund availed to TIMB by the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe (RBZ) to empower small scale farmers who constitute the big chunk of tobacco growers will see farmers getting a full package of inputs to be repaid through a stop order system when they deliver their golden leaf at the auction floors said TIMB spokesperson Isheunesu Moyo.

The loan facility extended to farmers comes at time when the RBZ has doubled the export incentive bonus from 5 percent to 12.5 percent in a move expected to see the production of the golden leaf hitting the anticipated $1 billion mark in foreign currency generation this marketing season.