tobacco 01.09.100.jpgSmall-scale tobacco farmers have bemoaned the unavailability of affordable loans to finance production at their farms saying this is hampering the growth of the industry.

This emerged during a Tobacco Farmers Marketing Outreach initiative held at Brigadier General Kasirai Tazira’s Jerani Farm in Rusape.

The farmers, who were taught all the processes and procedures involved by a team of experts in the field, said most of the problems they are encountering are a result of under-funding from financial institutions.

The programme was targeted to enlighten small-scale farmers on the required standards of curing, grading, presentation of their crop to enable them to fetch high prices at the floors.

The team leader of the experts invited to offer advice to the farmers, Mr. Rukweza, said they have taken it upon themselves to reach out to the farmers and update them on the prevailing situation on the market.

Stakeholders in the tobacco industry arrange seminars and outreach programmes to educate farmers on the booking arrangements, farming methods, booking requirements, standards required for treating, grading and bailing the golden leaf.

This is being done to avoid unnecessary hassles which have previously haunted farmers at the floors such as delayed payments, congestion and the mixing of tobacco grades.