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VP Chiwenga Calls for Local Tobacco Value Addition at 2024 Marketing Season Opening

 Vice President Dr. Constantino Chiwenga inaugurated the 2024 Tobacco Marketing Season this morning, urging stakeholders to prioritize local value addition in the tobacco industry.

The official opening witnessed the auction of the first bale, fetching US$4.92 per kilogram, a notable increase from last year’s US$4.35.

This year’s production is anticipated to reach around 265 million kilograms, slightly below the projected 300 million kilograms due to challenges posed by the previous year’s El Nino-induced weather conditions. Nonetheless, the government remains steadfast in its efforts to achieve the national target of 300 million kilograms by 2025, a crucial component of President Mnangagwa’s broader vision for an upper middle-income economy.

Tobacco stands as the country’s second-largest foreign currency earner after gold, making its continued growth pivotal for the economy. Vice President Chiwenga emphasized the importance of promoting local value addition, stressing that the focus should now shift from merely exporting raw leaf to enhancing beneficiation within Zimbabwe.

Highlighting the need for increased investment in tobacco processing plants, Vice President Chiwenga outlined the government’s commitment to creating an enabling environment for entities interested in value addition and beneficiation initiatives. This, he noted, aligns with the broader framework of fostering a private sector-led economy.

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Despite challenges posed by climate-induced factors, Zimbabwe has maintained consistent tobacco production, with expectations for this season remaining optimistic.

The Chairman of the Tobacco Industry and Marketing Board (TIMB), Mr. Patrick Devenish, underscored the importance of upholding high industry standards. He announced plans for Zimbabwe to host the World Tobacco Africa Conference, emphasizing the country’s commitment to global benchmarking and industry excellence.

Mr. Devenish also highlighted efforts to reduce production costs for farmers, including initiatives such as partnering with Hwange Colliery to provide discounted coal.

As Zimbabwe’s tobacco sector continues to evolve, the emphasis on local value addition and adherence to global standards remains central to its growth and sustainabilityHome – ZiMetro News

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