Tobacco farming- The untold story

One cannot comprehend what tobacco farming is if they haven’t heard about it from the viewpoint of the farmers themselves. Having understood the importance of tobacco farming, which is contributing magnificently to Zimbabwe’s GDP and export revenue, quite a lot of work is devoted in the process of farming tobacco. For that reason let’s dive right away into the untold story of the work behind the production of that well sought out for “Golden leaf” by buyers coming from all over the globe, including the world’s top tobacco producers China, Brazil and the United State of America.

Tobacco farming can be divided into Large -Scale commercial farming (LSC) and Small- Scale commercial farming (SSC), a study carried out in Zimbabwe revealed that in predominant districts by small holder farmers namely Hurungwe and Makoni, the two districts account for approximately 40% of tobacco grown by smallholder farmers, meaning that tobacco farming rewards handsomely despite the size of the farming business. Large scale commercial farmers (LSC) dominate tobacco production and this is how tobacco farming is distributed in Zimbabwe.

Tobacco is a short cycle crop and takes between 90 to 105 days and it is well suited in regions with moderate rainfall, well distributed throughout its cycle these are the better rainfall areas to the north and east of Harare. Tobacco seeds are very small and the germination is delicate and complicated, to such a point that germination is done in green houses to obtain seedlings which will be transplanted in the fields. Transplanting is a process carried out with caution since the young plants will be vulnerable to climate variations, diseases and parasites. To achieve proper curing of tobacco it has to be harvested at the proper time of ripeness depending on the variety of the tobacco and it is important to place the harvested leaves in a tobacco house for protection against the environment and loss of moisture. Once harvested tobacco leaves must first be cured, later fermented and aged to produce the raw materials for the industry. It is also important to know that Tobacco farming involves intensive human labour because it requires delicate handling.

This is why at Propak we supply the tobacco industry with hessian wrap that is recommended and specified by TIMB (Tobacco Industry Marketing Board), for proper packaging after having invested a lot of resources in farming tobacco. There is need therefore for the farmer to be acquainted with where to purchase and how to handle and store the Propak hessian wrap, but before we move on to that let us look at what TIMB recommends concerning Tobacco packaging.

TIMB regulations concerning Tobacco packaging

  • According to TIMB growers are encouraged to use only approved materials for packaging tobacco, therefore all growers should procure packaging materials from credible and approved suppliers.
  • Farmers should avoid buying packaging materials from road sides since product hygiene and quality cannot be verified.
  • Growers and auction floors are advised that auction sales of tobacco packaged in non-prescribed hessian wraps, baling twine or paper are not permitted.
  • Information pertaining to approved packaging material suppliers is available from TIMB i.e. for hessian wraps, baling paper and baling twine in further pursuit of physical integrity, tobacco moisture must be maintained at a level that avoids deterioration of quality. Growers should take all reasonable care to present for sale undamaged tobacco that is uniformly graded, free from contamination and foreign matter or any other non-tobacco related materials.

Where then can one get the recommended and specified tobacco hessian?

Propak provides the best quality hessian wraps in Zimbabwe for use in tobacco packaging. The Hessian Cloth is a plain weave made wholly from jute fibre with a single warp and weft which makes it 100% biodegradable and eco-friendly. Being the only agro packaging company which provides TIMB recommended and specified hessian in Zimbabwe we are located at 18-20 Nuffield Road, Harare, Zimbabwe and you can contact us on Phone: +263 242 620394-5, 754281 Mobile: +263 782708601-5 or Email:

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