Story by Owen Mandovha, Business Reporter
ZIMBABWE’S impressive historic tobacco output has caught the attention of neighbouring tobacco producer Zambia which is keen to learn from the successes of the government’s robust agriculture transformation strategies.
The historic performance of 294 million kilogrammes in the just-ended tobacco marketing season is the highest in Zimbabwe’s history courtesy of the success of the Second Republic agriculture reforms.
This has attracted the attention of the Tobacco Board of Zambia’s top management which is in Zimbabwe for a learning experience.
The delegation witnessed sales at one of the leading tobacco contractors in Harare where they praised the land reform programme for sustaining the growth of the sector.
“We are here to learn from our sisterly neighbour who has smashed tobacco output records and it is encouraging to note that more than 85% is being produced by beneficiaries of the Land Reform Programme. Also, the industry is well developed to support this growth in production,” said Tobacco Board of Zambia Chairman, Mr Phil Dhaka.
Zambia is producing not more than 45 million kilogrammes of the golden leaf annually, hence Zimbabwe’s established tobacco industry provides a perfect learning model to increase their output.
“Our output is almost five to six times smaller, and it makes sense if we need to improve our performance, we can only learn from Zimbabwe, hence our visit to Zimbabwe,” said Tobacco Board of Zambia chief executive officer, Mr James Kasingo.
Tobacco Industry and Marketing Board chief executive officer Emmanuel Matsvaire who presided over this impressive record output attributed the milestones to measures put in place by the government.
“Government has set out clear plans which have been duly supported by measures including financing farmers and putting in place a robust compliance framework which has helped to transform the industry to achieve this impressive output,” he said.
Apart from the record tobacco output, cotton production has doubled for the first time in over two decades and Zimbabwe is now self-sufficient in wheat alongside successive periods of bumper harvests in maize.