By Zivanai Dhewa
Zimbabwe has officially been rated Africa’s number one tobacco producer, The Harare Post has learnt.
This follows a survey that revealed jaw dropping foreign currency earnings following the 2017/2018 agricultural season.
Posting on his twitter handle, one of Africa’s renowned author and Researcher, James Hall said, “The final 2018 figures show exports of US$892 million, an excellent example of how government policy can help businesses.”
Hall added, “The Central Bank boosted farmer aid scheme, Tobacco Input Finance Facility from US$28 million in 2017 to US$70 million in 2018.”
Brighton Mushekwa weighed in applauding more farmers for signing up to grow the cash crop.
“This year, tobacco registered farmers rose by 65% which automatically will surpass the previous yield to another level,” said Mushekwa.
James Hall explained the effects of financing tobacco growers.
“The analysis I have read is that the production boost is due to farmers being able to get financing, so hard to do in cash challenged Zimbabwe today. Imagine how Zimbabwe agriculture would boom if financing was available across the board,” added Hall.
Other netzens called for the value addition of the crop. Victor Bhoroma on his twitter handle said, “Great success story in tobacco. The open auction system should be extended to other strategic crops too. Our Focus should now be on how to manufacture cigarettes for the export market in Zimbabwe because 95% of our tobacco is exported in raw form.”
Other netzens applauded efforts by government in supporting farming production while they expressed optimism that Zimbabwe will soon catch up with other African countries such as Ivory Coast which are leading producers of Cocoa, a situation that will go a long way in restoring the country’s Agro-based economy.