Tobacco exports rake in $1bn

Source: Tobacco exports rake in $1bn | The Herald August 24, 2017

Herald Reporters—
Tobacco exports are expected to reach nearly $1 billion during the 2017 season, the tobacco industry has said.

Premier Tobacco Auction Floor managing director Mr Philemon Mangena said this yesterday at a prize-giving ceremony for outstanding smallholder tobacco farmers at the Harare Agricultural Show.

“Tobacco exports earned the country $772,6 million in 2014, went up to $855 million in 2015 before surging to $ 933,3 million in 2016 and are projected to reach $ 980 million in 2017.

“Zimbabwe tobacco exports once accounted for 20 percent of the world’s flue-cured tobacco, the main ingredient in cigarettes. At peak production, the industry employed about 50 percent of all people employed in commercial agriculture,” he said.

Mr Mangena said tobacco provided the best economic return per hectare among all the major annual crops grown in Zimbabwe. “Tobacco has also been a springboard for the production of other crops. Tobacco provides the best economic return per hectare among all other major annual crops grown in Zimbabwe,” he said.

Mr Mangena expressed appreciation to farmers for their efforts in producing the high value crop. “I would like to applaud the Zimbabwe agricultural society through the Harare Agricultural Show for revitalising the Tobacco Section Committee that had been in abeyance since 1997. The involvement of key tobacco institutions in the showcase of tobacco and the efforts that you the farmers are putting in making a world class leaf is a tremendous step in safeguarding the golden leaf’s relevance,” he said.

“The quality of leaf that I saw as I toured your exhibits gave me an impression that players within the industry have to up their game to remain relevant because of the stiff competition from foreign growers on the international market and the campaigns against tobacco production.”

Zimbabwe relies mainly on tobacco, gold and platinum group metals as a major source of foreign currency earnings.

The winners were presented with floating trophies and will be presented with other prizes during the official opening of the show.