"A Roadmap for Flue-curing Tobacco Barns: Towards Developing Improved Energy Efficient Barns for Small holder Farmers in Zimbabwe".
Tobacco crop currently provides the best economic return per hectare amongst all the major annual crops grown in Zimbabwe. Tobacco production currently contributes 30 % of the total exports and nearly 10 % of the GDP. According to the Tobacco Industry and Marketing Board, of the 106 127 number of registered tobacco growers, about 84 % belong to the smallholder category. The small holder section contributes more than 50 % of the total tobacco output. This article details the curing process and phases as well as the necessity of curing efficiency. An overview of the relationship between tobacco production and deforestation in Africa, and especially in Zimbabwe, is highlighted. A justification of the need for improved energy efficient flue-curing tobacco barns is presented. The article also reviews the different types of curing barns in Zimbabwe with particular attention to their development, operational systems, curing efficiencies, advantages and disadvantages. The main conclusion was that there is urgent need for improving energy efficiency in tobacco curing. In the short term, high fuel consumption can be reduced by optimizing the thermal efficiency of curing structures, particularly for smallholder tobacco growers in Zimbabwe.
Keywords: tobacco, flue-curing, smallholder farmers, energy efficient barns, heat transfer