The Smallholder Commercial Production Committee was formed in 1995 with the main objective of improving tobacco production and growing the membership base in the small holder tobacco sector. The SSPC consists of the Chairman, Secretary and elected members (Councillors) representing growers who attend quarterly ZTA Council Meetings in addition to regular district meetings. The Councillors help in the implementation of agreed programmes and provide feedback to growers on industry-related issues. There are currently 8 664 ZTA small holder members.
On going activities
The Small holder department has on going activities, these include the following:
As in line with the provision of quality services, training has been found to be the corner stone for success and in pursuing this the Small-holder department in conjunction with Blackfordby is carrying out monthly one day courses on all aspects of tobacco production that include curing and grading. Growers after completion of the courses are offered certificates of participation. About 319 growers so far have been trained since the inception of the short courses in September 2011.
Global positioning system of locating the exact position of members is being pursued as from 2011 to 2012 a total of 1741 members have their exact position mapped. Members were from these areas Odzi, Rusape in Manicaland, Karoi in Mashonaland west, Guruve, Madziwa in Mashonaland central. With this information any future services will be targeted to these groups of members.
In order to ensure afforestation and compliance by ZTA Smallholder members, the Smallholder department once again has resuscitated the gum seedling project. Schools and individuals who has the ability to raise gum seedlings located in smallholder tobacco growing areas are contracted to raise gum seedlings which are distributed to ZTA members free of charge! As for the 2012 season 11 000 seedlings were raised in Madziwa Mashonaland central, Karoi, Mashonaland west and Odzi Manicaland area and distributed to ZTA members for planting. For the 2013 season more gum seedlings are expected to be raised in all small-holder districts.
Information dissemination ( Magazines)
Every quarter of the year ZTA publishes magazines which are distributed to smallholder and commercial growers. A total of 15 000 magazines were distributed to the Smallholder growers alone during the 2012 season and this is on going. The Agricultural Manager with the assistance from the councilors make sure that ZTA members receive the magazines which contain various information from the President of ZTA, TRB, TIMB as well as farming information from the corporate world.
Update of information once again is done via SMS and smallholder growers are benefitting from this as they are not on email.
Technical information is provided to members on all aspects of tobacco culture. Field days are hosted with ZTA assistance, providing growers the opportunity to interact and provide each other with basic information on the growing of the crop.