Tue. Jul 16th, 2024

Zimbabwe has produced a record amount of tobacco this year, with 263,000 tonnes sold so far this season.

The agriculture ministry said that 85% of the production came from small-scale farmers, many of whom were settled on land controversially seized more than two decades ago from white farmers under a policy to address colonial era land grabs.

For the government this is a vindication of the controversial land seizures.

Zimbabwe is Africa’s largest producer of tobacco and exports to China, the Middle East and Europe.

Good rains and better financing helped farmers to achieve the record output.

According to the tobacco marketing authority, the output is expected to rise further as farmers continue with deliveries to the market.

Tobacco is a vital source of foreign currency and has raked in close to $800m (£630m) this year.

But it comes at a heavy price to the environment as many farmers use wood to cure the tobacco which can lead to deforestation.

Tobacco – when smoked – can increase the risk of serious health conditions, including several types of cancer. Despite the health risks revenue from cigarette sales globally is rising driven by demand in parts of Asia and Africa.

By Joy

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