Zimbabwe hopes to boost agricultural output
by almost 10% this year with an increase in tobacco
production, already the country's biggest export, according to a minister.
Still recovering from the country's chaotic
land reform laws pushed by President Robert Mugabe, the sector has attracted
small-scale farmers who were allocated farms.
"The agricultural sector is expected
to grow by 9% and this growth is expected to be driven largely by the tobacco
sector," Ignatius Chombo, the acting agriculture minister said at the
opening of the 2014 tobacco selling season.
No Tobacco Day
Tobacco production has been steadily rising
since 2009, but has not reached the peak level of 236 million kilograms seen
In 2006, production fell to 56 million
kilograms, the weakest since independence from Britain in 1980.
biggest agricultural export
Tobacco remains Zimbabwe's biggest
agricultural export, although mining has overtaken farming as the main foreign
As testimony to the country's ailing
economy, insufficient funding has resulted in some farmers leasing their farms
to foreign companies, mostly from China.
The chairperson of the Tobacco Industry and
Marketing Board, Monica Chinamasa said this season contractors made up 54% of
the registered growers.
At this year's auction, the highest price was $4.98 per kilogram.
Picture: Tobacco farming from Shutterstock
farming causes global warming
used to fight cancer