The Tobacco Research Board (TRB) can cut the huge potato seed import bill if the government avails about US$1 million for the institution to upgrade its research and breeding facilities which will also ensure that Zimbabwe maintains its status as producer of quality tobacco in the world.

A familiarisation tour by the Parliamentary Portfolio Committee on Lands and Agriculture to the Kutsaga Tobacco Research Board revealed that the institution has potential to cut the huge import bill in potato seedlings and generate more forex if funded.

Kutsaga Tobacco Research Board General Manager, Dr Dahlia Garwe said apart from being the engine of tobacco production, the board can produce adequate quality hybrid seed potato which is bleeding the country of the much needed foreign currency.

The parliamentary committee expressed satisfaction over the tobacco seed production at the centre and promised to approach the monetary authorities to prioritise funding towards the institution to upgrade research facilities and produce the seed potato.

During the tour, the legislators were taken through the new seed technology service and new seedlings production which uses float tray and new environmentally friendly modeling of tobacco barns.