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The herald

Michel Tome
Business journalist
ZIMBABWE can capture a significant share of the global tobacco industry of US $ 878 billion, by increasing investment in value-added “gold leaf”.

The country is the sixth largest tobacco producer in the world, accounting for seven percent of the global supply and is also the fifth largest tobacco exporter in the world.

Currently, Zimbabwe adds value and only benefits from one percent of the total tobacco production grown in the country.

Culture contributes significantly to Zimbabwe’s export earnings, demonstrating its importance to the country’s economy, a discourse that could be improved if culture is value-added and exported as a finished product.

To capture the value that is exported through the Minister of Semi-Processed Tobacco, Land, Agriculture, Water and Rural Resettlement, Dr Anxious Masuka said his ministry is considering ways to promote the enrichment of tobacco cultivation to fully exploit the benefits thereof. addition of harvest.

According to Minister Masuka, local tobacco companies benefit from around one to two percent of Zimbabwe’s annual tobacco production.

This means that the country achieves a meager US $ 1 billion to US $ 1.2 billion in tobacco export earnings per year, according to current tobacco export statistics.

Addressing a recent meeting in Victoria Falls, Minister Masuka lamented the inability of the local tobacco industry to broaden its horizons and increase its share of the industry by nearly a trillion, thereby increasing income from the country.

“The industry is worth $ 878 billion and is expected to grow to over $ 1 trillion by 2025, but the country only earns 0.017% of the global value of tobacco, yet it produces seven percent of the crop, seven percent of the world’s tobacco is American. $ 61 billion (per year), potentially Zimbabwe is expected to generate $ 61.46 billion in tobacco, this is how Zimbabwe tobacco is worth in the world, this is where the turmoil arises.

“… out of 250 million kilograms of tobacco produced in the country, only 2.5 million kilograms is what we add in cigarettes in the country, we export semi-processed tobacco, exporting a lot of value in the process “said Minister Masuka.

The Minister of Agriculture also said the government was implementing a tobacco value chain transformation plan aimed at transforming Zimbabwe’s tobacco industry.

It is envisioned that the planned initiatives would contribute immensely to the national vision of a diverse, self-reliant and prosperous upper-middle-income economy by 2020.

“The tobacco value chain transformation strategy is a bold and radical transformation plan, it aims to capture some of the value we should be getting while producing more because the Zimbabwean tobacco market is there,” said Dr. Masuka.

The Managing Director of the Tobacco Research Board (TRB), Dr Dahlia Garwe, said more focus was needed on acquiring state-of-the-art machinery to meet the demands of added value.

“I’m happy to say that we already have a few plans in place in this space, we have three cigar producers who are already using locally grown leaves, one of them being Mosi-oa-Tunya, they started here ( Victoria Falls) and they are working with the TRB in terms of the varieties they can use and also in terms of developing technical expertise.

“It is also very clear that in terms of added value and enrichment, there is a real need to invest in new technologies and advanced manufacturing plants,” said Dr Garwe.

She said the debate on adding value in the local industry was long overdue, but called for addressing the plight of farmers who received very little from the multibillion-dollar industry.

“Personally, I think the adoption of the Tobacco Value Chain Transformation Plan (TVCTP) is a very welcome development on the Zimbabwean scene.

“In fact, this is long overdue, and if we want to become a middle income economy by 2030, it would be an easy way to get there if we do it early on, we have to reduce the cost of production. At the farmer level, currently our farmers are not getting adequate value from tobacco cultivation because the cost of production is way too high, the fertilizer price at $ 40 per bag is high, which of our farmers can afford it. allow, we have to revisit that, ”she said. added.

Zimbabwe, which is the world’s sixth largest producer of tobacco, processes only 2 percent of the commodity. The latest enrichment and value addition campaign aims to unlock $ 5 billion in export revenue by 2025.

On average, the country currently earns between US $ 800 billion and US $ 1 billion per year from tobacco exports.

The plan also aims to increase the localization of tobacco financing to 70% by 2025, increase production to 300 million kg, increase the level of added value of the cutrug leaf and increase the production of cigarettes from 2% to 30%.

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