Tobacco farmers have been urged to continuously improve their production and productivity to keep abreast of both local and international competitors, Premier Tobacco Auction Floors Managing Director, Philemon Mangena has said.
Speaking at the Zimbabwe Agricultural Society tobacco section prize giving ceremony last week, Mangena said tobacco exports for the 2017 are projected to reach $980 million.
“At peak production, the tobacco industry employed about 50% of all people employed in commercial agriculture; this estimate did not include other activities and downstream industries that exist to service the tobacco industry.
“Zimbabwe relies mainly on tobacco, gold and platinum group metals as a major source of its foreign currency earnings.
“Tobacco exports earned the country $772.6 million in 2014, went up to $855 million in 2015 before surging to $933.3 million in 2016 and is projected to reach $980 million in 2017,” said Mangena.
According to Mangena, Zimbabwe tobacco exports once accounted for 20% of the world’s flue-cured tobacco, the main ingredient in cigarettes.
“Zimbabwe tobacco exports once accounted for 20% of the world’s flue-cured tobacco, the main ingredient in cigarettes.
“Tobacco has also been a springboard for the production of other crops and it provides the best economic return per hectare amongst all the major annual crops grown in Zimbabwe,” said Mangena.