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Govt pushes for tobacco value-addition

Local News
Lands and Agriculture minister Anxious Masuka

GOVERNMENT says it is putting in place modalities to ensure there is value-addition of tobacco before its export.

Speaking during a tour of Sambok Farm in Marondera last week, Lands and Agriculture minister Anxious Masuka said government seeks to meet its ambitious US$5 billion tobacco industry by 2025 through beneficiation of the crop.

“What we want to do is to ensure that there is more value-addition and beneficiation of tobacco. We export 98% of our tobacco in raw form, thereby exporting jobs and value. It is estimated that we produce more than 200 million kilograms of tobacco and as it crosses the border, the same tobacco fetches US$15 billion and we only get US$1 billion,” Masuka said.

“Our tobacco is worth billions on the international market, but as Zimbabwe we only get US$1 billion. So the government has now put in place the transformation plan to ensure that we increase the volume and also value add so that by 2025 we can have a US$5 billion industry.”

Sambok Farm, located about 25 kilometres east of Marondera, has 200 hectares (ha) of tobacco.

Mashonaland East is one of the country’s top tobacco producing regions.

As of December 24 last year, the province had 19 215ha of tobacco with 7 494ha under irrigation, while 11 721ha under dry land.

This signifies a 12% increase from last year, the same period when 17 121 ha was under irrigation and 10105ha on dry land.

According to available statistics, Zimbabwe earned $650 million during the 2022 tobacco marketing season, up from US$589 million the previous year.

The bulk of the tobacco is sold through contract floors.

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