Zimbabwe Mugabe Empowers new Black Farmers to Produce close to $1 Billion of Tobacco

HARARE, February 5 (The Source) – Zimbabwe is likely to meet its projected target of 220 million kilograms of tobacco this season despite experiencing erratic rainfall, an industry official has said.

In 2014, total flue tobacco amounted to 216 million kilograms earning the country $684 million.

Commercial Farmers Union (CFU) economist Antonnette Chingwe on Thursday told The Source that more farmers were turning to growing tobacco, which would add to the production numbers.

January figures from the Tobacco Industry and Marketing Board (TIMB) showed that a total of 88,640 growers have so far registered for the 2015 season up from 87,281 that registered in 2014.

“The rains were not on our side. The season started late and then we had excessive rains in some areas which damaged crops,” said Chingwe.

“The growing number of tobacco growers however is most likely going to work in our favor and boost our production figures.”

Chingwe said while production was on an upward trend, there was need to improve production efficiencies.

“Farmers need to start looking at improving yields and managing their costs while putting out a product of better quality which will fetch more on the markets,” she said.

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