Group Loan Input Scheme: GLIS

Introduction: The Group Loan Input Scheme (GLIS) was initiated after the Tobacco Research Board (TRB) took into cognisance the low adoption of the float tray seedling production system by tobacco growers despite the tangible advantages the system has over the conventional seedbed system. Some of the entry barriers, as noted by growers, were perceived high initial cost outlay, fear of the unknown and poor results that were achieved by those who had earlier attempted to use the system.

The GLIS project enables growers to quickly adopt the float tray seedling production system by providing a float tray seedbed input package and the requisite skills through an initial training followed by monitoring site visits provided by TRB seedling production experts throughout the seedbed season. To facilitate a cost effective training and distribution of inputs program, a group loan input scheme model was adopted. Under the scheme, growers are expected to form a reasonable group with a formal organizational structure having a chairperson and secretary.

The members have the option of paying in cash or use the stop order system to pay for the inputs in the form of Kutsaga float trays, Gromix Plus ® and floatfert. Stop orders are registered with the Tobacco Industry and Marketing Board under the Stop Order Act but repayments of the loans are facilitated by the Tobacco Contractors of the various GLIS groups.

Progress This season the GLIS program has received tremendous support with a total of 50 groups established in 5 provinces with a total of 1276 hectares worth of seedlings ready for planting (see Figure 1). In addition tobacco contractors have established 118 hectares of seedlings ready for planting to bring a combined hectarage total of 1394 of A1, A2 and contractors seedlings produced under the GLIS program.

Figure 1: Provincial seedlings quantities established under the GLIS program

Recent Highlights

Centenary GLIS group held a seedbed day on Friday the 30th of October to showcase their high quality tobacco seedlings produced using the float tray seedling production system and Kutsaga elite tobacco varieties. They also received training and a float tray seedbed input package from TRB through the GLIS program.

Huge crowd appreciating the high quality tobacco seedlings produced under the GLIS program using the Kutsaga float tray seedbed inputs

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Growers Comments

Below are comments from GLIS program growers who have had the opportunity to use the Kutsaga Gromix Plus , float fert and float trays in raising tobacco seedlings.

• Once I started using the float tray seedling production system I realized that when I was using the conventional seedbed system it was like using the olden days rotary dial telephone instead of the nowadays touch screen smart phone which is the float tray seedling production system. - Mr. Nyakurwa, Centenary GLIS group

• I was a bit undecided whether to leave the conventional seedbed system and move to the float tray seedling production system. However I do not regret joining the GLIS program as the easier seedbed management practices in the float tray system have extended the lifespan of my clothes and resulted in high quality seedlings which have an intact root system when pulling for planting and when I am not able to plant as planned, I simply return the float tray seedlings into the float tray seedbed until I am ready to plant. This float tray seedbed system under the GLIS program has made my life easier due to less labour required for raising seedlings. - Mrs. L. Manyengavana, Nyamajura GLIS group, Odzi

• This float tray seedling production system is very flexible. I am able to alleviate seedling production challenges such as an instance I recall when a portion of the seedbed had salt injury and I split the bed into several compartments where I arranged the seedlings according to size and then employed ameliorating practices custom made to each seedling compartment. Thus, I was able to raise and plant the number of seedlings I had planned, thus averting disaster. - Mr. L. Matesanwa, Kushinga GLIS group, Karoi