Tobacco research body decries lack of govt support

Tobacco research body decries lack of govt support

HARARE, June 21 (The Source) – Zimbabwe’s Tobacco Research Board says it produces enough seed to serve both the domestic and export markets, despite receiving no government support.

TRB general manager Dhelia Garwe told a Parliamentary committee on agriculture that the institute generates up to 75 percent of its capital requirements with the sale of seed contributing 40 percent to the its revenue.

“As a parastatal we are supposed to get funding from government, but we have not received anything and TRB has been self-supporting,” Garwe said.

“Government collects a 0,078% tobacco levy and it is shared by the Tobacco Industry Marketing Board and the TRB, as well as other interested bodies, which contributes to about 20 percent to 25 percent of our revenue, while the shortfall is borne by ourselves.”

Garwe told Parliament that the institute has five years’ worth of seed for several tobacco varieties.

Zimbabwe requires 750 kilogrammes of tobacco seed per year.

“We export seed for burley tobacco, which is more than one and a half tonnes per annum, and for flue cured varieties we export 100 kilogrammes. This is a lot of seed because for a hectare of tobacco one needs only five grams of seed and so when one talks of a tonne it is a lot of seed.”

She added that there was need to modernise the institute’s laboratories which have been in use since the 1950s.