Some tobacco farmers have bemoaned incessant rains experienced across the country in February and early March saying they brought a bacteria attack known as Angular.
Although the 2022-2023 farming season had good rainfall favourable for crops, the incessant rains received in the past few weeks harmed the golden leaf in some areas.
Some small-scale farmers in Centenary, Mashonaland Central Province were yet to harvest when rains fell leaving them counting their losses as their tobacco has been affected by the bacteria. One of the farmers spoke to ZBC News:
This bacteria attack is now putting us under pressure to harvest and with the rate these leaves are drying up we have lost hope of harvesting all in time.
Mr Jabulani Mhundwa, an agronomist, urged farmers to observe planting and harvesting dates to avoid losses. He said:
This rotting of leaves is a disaster to tobacco farming and as it is poor crop management and weather conditions are among the main contributing factors, many small-scale farmers have fallen victim to this disease. It is very important that farmers plant and harvest on time so that such losses are avoided.
Mr Joe Mkandla, a crop chemicals specialist, said Angula is a disease in tobacco farming that has no cure. Angular is a bacterial disease that is associated with the drying of leaf cells at the maturity stage.
The attack by Angula in tobacco crops affects the quality and weight of the leaf as well as puts pressure on the farmer to harvest the crop before maturity.