The Zimbabwe Tobacco Association (ZTA) says the monetary policy announced by the Reserve Bank governor Gideon Gono in December last year will boost production next year, the Zimbabwe Independen
t has established.
ZTA president Duncan Miller said farmers who had scaled down production were likely to increase their hectarage following the new policy.
“The new changes mean tobacco farmers will this year use an exchange rate based on 75% of the auction exchange rate and 25% of the official exchange rate of US$1:$824,” said Miller.
Last year production was affected by the exchange rate issue which was pegged at the official exchange rate of US$1:$824 while farmers demanded an exchange rate of US$1:$1 600.
The government has also effected changes in the marketing of the tobacco crop.
“There is going to be a dual marketing system this year. The government has allowed approved private players to come in and they will complement the already existing auction floors in buying the crop,” Miller said.
The Ministry of Agriculture will select the private players. Some contractors will provide farmers with inputs.
While uncertainty abounds in the agricultural sector, Zambia’s tobacco crop doubled last year, boosted by Zimbabwean farmers who left the country at the height of farm invasions.
Zambia has also seen the creation of 17 000 jobs in the tobacco sector alone. Zimbabwe’s unemployment rate is about 75%.