Commercial Farmers' Union of Zimbabwe

Commercial Farmers' Union of Zimbabwe

***The views expressed in the articles published on this website DO NOT necessarily express the views of the Commercial Farmers' Union.***

Tobacco bounces back

Tobacco bounces back

Written by Ngoni Chanakira
Tuesday, 11 January 2011 10:00

HARARE  – ONCE Zimbabwe’s best performing export crop, tobacco is slowly
bouncing back and reaping huge rewards for the poor country – earning
millions once again.

Figures given to The Zimbabwean by the Ministry of Agriculture show that
tobacco in 2010 stood at a 125 000 tonnes the best since 2005 when a mere 74
000 toness were produced by the nation.

Zimbabwe in 2000 embarked on a controversial land grab programme where the
government of President Robert Mugabe grabbed land belonging to white
commercial farmers dishing it out to “landless  blacks”.

However the black commercial farmers, mainly war veterans, are now dismally
failing to produce tobacco citing high input costs and refusal by commercial
banks to give them loans.

The tobacco crop production had since nose dived and the country, once among
the top three producers in the world, became a lauging stock even among its
poor neighbours, Zambia and Malawi.

Malawi to-date producees more tobacco than Zimbabwe.

In fact, the commercial farmers who are doing well in Malawi were from
Zimbabwe and left after their lucrative farms were grabbed from them by
President Mugabe’s government in 2000.

Figures given to The Zimbabwean show that in 2005 Zimbabwe produced 74 000
tonnes of the tobacco crop which, however, fell to a mere 55 000 in 2006.
The Ministry of Agriculture revealed that in 2007 Zimbabwe produced 80 000
tonnes of the tobacco crop but that and this nose-dived to a mere 56 000
tonnes in 2008.

However, in 2009 the tobacco crop production improved to 59 000 tonnes and
then shot up to miraculously 125 000 tonnes last year.

The agriculture sector is the mainstay of Zimbabwe’s struggling economy.
It contributes about 16 percent of the country’s Gross Domestic Product


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