THE Tobacco Industry and Marketing Board (TIMB) is in the process of completing the construction of its headquarters in Harare and is set to be operational during the course of 2016, a company official has said.
BY TARISAI MANDIZHA
In an interview with NewsDay, TIMB chief executive officer Andrew Matibiri said the construction was 90% complete.
“The superstructure is complete and work is being done on the finishes, drive way, elevator and the like,” Matibiri said.
Matibiri, however, could not divulge how much was used in the project, saying the board will be able to do so once the project was finished.
“The project is still underway and not yet complete. We will be able to avail the figures or total cost of the TIMB headquarters once the building is complete,” he said.
In 2015, Zimbabwe produced 198,95 million kg of tobacco worth $584 million and to date have registered 69,518 tobacco farmers.
Tobacco has become the crop of choice among farmers due to better returns and this has seen most farmers switching from traditional crops such as maize and cotton to the golden leaf over the past three years.
In his 2016 National Budget presentation, Finance minister Patrick Chinamasa said agriculture was expected to recover by 1,8%, though adequate planning on mitigating the impact of the El-Nino weather will be essential.
Chinamasa said the 2015/16 weather forecast predicted a challenging agricultural season, with erratic distribution of rains and this had potential negative implications on the outcome of the forthcoming agricultural season.
“Our interventions in agriculture for the coming season take account of Metrological Services weather forecasts for the 2015/2016 farming season of normal to below normal rains, with likelihood of late start to the season, coupled with a short rainfall season over December to February/March 2016.
“Indications are that different regions will fare differently, and it will be necessary that for planning purposes, farmers should monitor Meteorological Services Department weather updates, as well as Extension Services Department advisory warnings on planting, crop maturing varieties, including staggering of planting to spread risks,” Chinamasa said.
He, however, said this should guide farming operations, including choice of short season crop varieties, planting timings, application of fertilisers and pest control, all critical for effective crop yield benefits from the rainfall received within the forecast short summer cropping season.