By Freeman Razemba
Zimbabwe is expected to host the Tobacco Investments and Promotion Conference aimed at improving market prospects for players in the tobacco industry and scaling up their operations.
The conference, which will be held between April 5 and 6, will be officially opened by Vice President Constantino Chiwenga.
In a statement yesterday, the managing consultant for Global PFFG Business Solutions Mr Pio Gotore said the conference was expected to bring together more than 250 delegates.
“These include farmers unions, environmental and climate campaigners, civic sector groups, senior Government officials, committee chairpersons for Parliament and a broad range of investors, including sovereign wealth funds, institutional investors, fund managers, corporate investors, investment banks and asset managers, among others,” he said.
Mr Gotore said the conference will provide delegates with an opportunity to explore the country’s tobacco industry’s vast investment opportunities, including from agro production, processing and marketing, within the whole tobacco chain.
“It also provides delegates with a networking platform with key stakeholders, Government officials, corporates and investors,” Mr Gotore said.
He said tobacco was grown by small scale farmers whose livelihoods also depended on the success of the sector.
“Therefore, the conference also seeks to bring together key players in the sector and other sectors to interrogate approaches aimed at improving market prospects for players in the tobacco value chain and scaling up their operations profitably,” Mr Gotore said.
The conference also comes at a time when all is set for the opening of the 2018 tobacco marketing season next Wednesday, with the Tobacco Industry and Marketing Board expressing satisfaction with the readiness of operators during an inspection of the three licensed floors in Harare.
The TIMB board recently inspected Premier Tobacco Auction Floors, Boka Tobacco Auction Floors and Tobacco Sales Floors.
TIMB chairperson Mrs Monica Chinamasa said there was need for stakeholders in the tobacco industry to work together to ensure a smooth marketing season, especially on the cash issue.
RBZ also announced that farmers would get a maximum of $300 cash per sale this season.
Mrs Chinamasa urged farmers to use the cash for critical things like paying for labour
There are 29 buyers and 23 contractors that have been licensed for this season.