Tobacco farmers are appealing to government to avail part of the proceeds in foreign currency for the sector to maximise production and output of the golden leaf, as the planting season already underway.

Despite having received at least $70 million from government to be channelled towards infrastructure and inputs, tobacco farmers say the amount, which is in local currency, is not enough for them to maximise production and output as suppliers continue to demand foreign currency.

Chairperson of the Tobacco Industry and Marketing Board Mrs Monica Chinamasa told ZBC News on the sidelines of a farmers annual general meeting today that the sector needs to be fully capacitated given the fact that the golden leaf is one of the top earners of forex having attracted over $700 million last season.

“We are appealing to government and the RBZ governor to consider the sector as the planting season is already underway yet our farmers are finding it difficult to operate as almost every input and machinery is being purchased with forex,” she said.

Tobacco farming is largely dominated by small scale producers who feed about 70 percent of the total output in the country.