Tobacco contributes significantly to the country’s gross domestic product through exports and it also greatly improves the livelihoods of many Zimbabwean people.
“The tobacco industry is a main employer in our country. That is why it is essential to celebrate the merit in tobacco production and marketing in order to mark the end of one more successful marketing season,” said Mr. Ngoni Masoka, the Permanent Secretary of the Agriculture, Mechanisation and Irrigation Development Ministry.
The Minister Dr Joseph Made declared that the financial sector has to help this main segment of the economy. “We should create a resolution that will save from all inconveniences currently grabbing the marketing of the tobacco crop,” Dr. Made said.
He underlined congestion as one of the main problems which should be resolved by reorganization of particular services proposed to farmers by the Tobacco Industry and Marketing Board (TIMB).
Dr. Made asked for consistent pricing throughout the selling season in order to elude the congestion related to the start of the season, as tobacco growers want to outdo the price crash, which characterized the last sealing seasons.
“Government would like to require tobacco merchants to be logical with pricing throughout the selling season, so as to evade congestion that could be associated with the launch of a tobacco-selling season,” he said.
Government officials are aware of the challenges that occur in the tobacco sector, starting from supporting of production, adequate knowledge of growing the crop, price disproportions and farmer difficulties associated with the advertising of tobacco.
“The holder of such help should compensate loans in order to guarantee collaboration with the banking institutions.”
For instance agriculture contributed 33, 9%, while the mining industry contributed about 47% to the economic increase last year. Minister Made welcomed the Tobacco Sales Floor (TSF) for their idea to re-introduce the Tobacco Grower of the Year Competition.
“This promotion will help newly resettled and promising tobacco farmers to acquire more from their efforts,” he said.
Prizes for the winners included two modern tractors, two generators, a grinding mill and various assortments of general agriculture as well as tobacco handling and curing equipment and outfits.
“All these prizes will increase and improve the productivity and an overall income-earning capacity of the holders,” Dr Made said.
Dr Made also hopes to have a bigger and better competition in future and that other holders in the tobacco industry were going to close ranks with TSF in order to realize this objective.
According to the data, senior advisor to the Reserve Bank Governor Dr. Munyaradzi Kereke won this year’s Tobacco Grower of the Year prize in the commercial sector.
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