THE number of tobacco growers for the 2013-2014 agricultural season has increased by 100%, Tobacco Industry and Marketing Board (TIMB) figures have shown.
This showed that the country’s farmers were moving away from solely growing staple food crops to cash crops.
According to TIMB statistics 87 281 growers registered for this year’s farming season with the biggest increase having been recorded in communal areas and A1 farmers followed by A2 and small scale-farmers.
The figure indicated that 26 816 farmers registered this year were new growers. Communal growers recorded 47%, followed by A1 farmers at 34% while A2 farmers and small-scale farmers stood at between 8% and 11% respectively.
In an interview with NewsDay, TIMB chief executive officer Andrew Matibiri said the increase in tobacco farmers for this season was as a result of farmers shifting to grow tobacco from other crops like cotton and maize.
Matibiri said this year’s tobacco marketing season will begin on February 19.