Commercial Farmers' Union of Zimbabwe

Commercial Farmers' Union of Zimbabwe

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Zim to begin selling tobacco

Zim to begin selling tobacco

by Own Correspondent     Tuesday 14 February 2012

HARARE – Zimbabwe’s tobacco selling season opens tomorrow with at least 150 
million kilogrammes expected to be sold this year up from 132.5 million 
kilogrammes sold last year, in yet another sign of recovery in the farming 
sector after a decade of decline blamed on President Robert Mugabe’s land 

Tobacco Industry and Marketing Board (TIMB) chief executive officer Andrew 
Matibiri said the board was not able to give an exact figure of how much 
tobacco will be sold this season as most of the crop was yet to be 

But some industry experts said as much as190 million kilograms could be sold 
this year, a figure within touching distance of the 236 million kilogrammes 
realised from the 1999/2000 season before the chaotic and often violent land 
reforms destabilised agriculture.

“It is a bit too difficult to make an accurate production at this point 
however we expect anything within the range of 190 million kilogrammes of 
tobacco to be sold this season,” said a top official at Tobacco Sales Floor 
(TSF), one of Zimbabwe’s biggest auction floors.

Tobacco output has steadily increased over the past four seasons as more 
black villagers resettled on former white farmers opted for the highly 
rewarding cash crop dubbed the ‘golden leaf ’.

From an all-time low of 48.8 million kilogrammes produced in 2008, tobacco 
output rose to 60 million kilogrammes in 2009 and 123 million kilogrammes in 

According to Matibiri 60 000 farmers were registered to grow tobacco in the 
2011/12 season or 35 000 more farmers than were recorded in the 2010/11 

Prior to Mugabe’s controversial land reforms tobacco production was largely 
a preserve of white commercial farmers who numbered only 4000 and not all of 
whom grew the crop.

Once a breadbasket of the region during the first two decades of 
independence, Zimbabwe has 2001 largely relied on food handouts from aid 
agencies after production plummeted when Mugabe seized white commercial 
farms for redistribution to landless blacks.

The plunge in production coincided with the collapse of the economy, which 
was marked by hyperinflation and acute shortages of foreign currency and 
high unemployment.

Commercial farming was once a preserve of white Rhodesian farmers, but in 
the last decade the sector has embraced a new crop of black farmers who have 
struggled to maintain previous production levels due to widespread shortages 
of farming inputs like seed and fertilizer.

But the plunge in agriculture could have bottomed out as witnessed by rising 
production in tobacco and maize and a rebound in dairy and cattle 
arming.  — ZimOnline


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