The Tobacco Research Board (TRB) says the 2018 -2019 tobacco farming season may be greatly affected by the potato virus y (PVY) as some farmers have failed to comply with the Tobacco Act that directs them to destroy tobacco stalks by the 15th of May.

The destruction of tobacco stalks help to disturb the life cycle of aphids that cause PVY in the golden leaf.

In an interview with the ZBC News on the sidelines of PVY indaba in Harare, TRB General Manager, Dr Dahlia Garwe said only 57 percent of the farmers have destroyed tobacco stalks to meet the 15 May deadline.

“Farmers should work together and encourage each other to do all the necessary procedures to make sure we get quality crop,” Dr Garwe said.

TRB Acting Head – Plant Health Services, Dr Cleopas Chinheya also noted that the PVY has increased to alarming levels, a situation that has resulted in the production of poor quality tobacco.

A representative of the Zimbabwe Tobacco Association, Mr Graham Ross appealed to the government to make sure that the Tobacco Act is properly respected.

The tobacco sowing season starts from the 1st of June and should be done when all stalks are destroyed to prevent the spread of PVY to the new crop.