HARARE: Zimbabwe expects tobacco revenue to increase by 16 percent this year as new landowning black farmers turn to the valuable export crop, an industry official said today.
Monica Chinamasa, chairperson of the Tobacco Industry and Marketing Board, told AFP they are expecting the total deliveries to reach 170 million kilograms or more and earnings of around $600 million.
That would be up from just over 140 million kilos last year, worth around $517 million, according to the board.
Zimbabwe was once the world’s biggest tobacco exporter, with sales accounting for 30 percent of exports, but the seizure of white-owned farms by Robert Mugabe’s government resulted in a steep drop off in production.
The number of registered tobacco growers has almost doubled in the last year to 66,000, and more than 80 percent of the new tobacco farmers are beneficiaries of President Robert Mugabe’s land reforms.