Government to transform tobacco industry 

by | Oct 11, 2023 | Business, Crime & Courts, Local News, Politics | 0 comments

Government to transform tobacco industry


Mako Jerera


Government has set a target to grow the tobacco industry into a US$5 billion industry by 2025.


This comes as the country’s agricultural sector has in the recent past experienced exponential growth as government seeks to grow the economy using natural resources.


Speaking at the post-cabinet briefing yesterday, the Minister of Information, Publicity, and Broadcasting Services, Dr Jenfan Muswere unpacked the Tobacco Transformation Plan aimed at transforming the agriculture sub-sector into a five billion United States dollar industry.


“The Plan seeks to increase tobacco production to 300 million kg by 2025 and transform the industry into a US$5 billion industry through exports of tobacco value-added products. The nation is informed that there has been an increase in volume as a result of post-harvest loss reduction and yield increase.


“During the 2022/23 season a record 296.1 million kilogrammes of tobacco, worth US$896 million was produced. Of this production, A1 and A2 farmers contributed 153 320 472 kg and US$480 548 375 of total production, being 52% and 54% of the value respectively, attesting to the success of the Land Reform Programme,” said Dr Muswere.


He added that the, Statutory Instrument 77 of 2022 was introduced in 2022 to criminalise side-marketing of crops.


“Regarding post-harvest loss reduction, there are ongoing farmer field days, and training, on harvesting, curing, storage, and use of more fuel – efficient barns, to reduces losses from 15% t0 10%. The Tobacco Research Board (TRB) developed a fuel-efficient “Rocket Barn” and “the Kutsaga Counter Current 1 barn” which reduced firewood usage by 50%. Research on alternative fuel types is ongoing at the TRB. The tobacco industry merchants have a voluntary levy collected under the auspices of the Sustainable Afforestation Association, which commenced planting eucalyptus trees in 2014.”


Dr Muswere advised that to increase the production of alternative crops and increase their contribution to the farmers’ income to 25% by 2025 , TIMB is now offering GLOBAL GAP Consultancy services to enable tobacco farmers to access global export markets for horticultural crops.


Meanwhile, Dr Muswere also briefed the nation regarding the cholera outbreak and the response mechanism put in place to curb the spread of the disease in Harare and Manicaland Provinces.


“Cabinet advises that as of 30th September 2023, Zimbabwe’s cumulative suspected cholera cases were 4 436 with 4 246 recoveries. Manicaland Province and Harare Province contributed the highest number of cholera cases in Zimbabwe, having reported 1 934 (43.5%) and 1 627(36.7%) cumulative cholera cases respectively by 30 September 2023.


“Cabinet reports that medicines and commodities supply have been prepositioned in districts with resource mobilization ongoing from the national level as well as through provisional and district structures and donors have also chipped in.


“The nation is informed that active surveillance is ongoing at the ports of entry. Cabinet highlights that dissemination of information is being intensified to curb the spread of cholera. Furthermore, water quality monitoring of waste disposal and waste management is ongoing in provinces,” said Dr Muswere.