• 10 tips to find bargains

    Susan Erasmus gives advice on how bargain hunters can get the most bang for their buck.

  • Inside Labour

    Labour's bitter breaches need to be seen in historical context, says Terry Bell.

  • Rich getting richer

    Economists differ on how to tackle the chasm between rich and poor, says Leopold Scholtz.

See More

New farmers dominate Zim tobacco sales

Feb 16 2011 18:48 AFP

Related Articles

China urges west to lift Zim sanctions

China seals Zim ties

China offers Zim $3bn for platinum

Zim central bank axes staff

Foreigners spared Zim kangaroo courts

Millions missing from Zim diamond sales


Harare - Zimbabwe's tobacco-selling season opened on Wednesday with beneficiaries of President Robert Mugabe's land reform programme forming the majority of those who brought their bundles to be sold at market.

Agriculture Minister Joseph Made said the farmers who cultivate small plots were expected to deliver the bulk of the crop, saying it was vindication of the controversial expropriation of thousands of white-owned farms.

"This is a clear achievement of our land reform programme," Made said at the opening of the auction sale in the capital Harare.

"It is expected that during the marketing season more than half of the tobacco will come from small-scale farmers, that is communal and A1 (small-scale) farmers who now constitute 82% of the total registered farmers," he added.

Long, winding lines of pick-up trucks and lorries carrying massive bales formed outside the Tobacco Sales Floor, with some the farmers having arrived at the auctions as early as 3:00 am.

Vanessa Kabukuta, a 51-year old grower, expressed satisfaction at this year's price.

"The price is better, not bad," she told AFP.

"This year I decided to bring my crop earlier because last year the prices dropped to less than $3.00 per kilogramme midway through the season."

Kabukuta brought 23 bales to sell at the opening of the sales, up from 14 last year.

Another farmer Tendai Muchakagara, 43, sat on top of the bales of tobacco as he waited for the start of the sale.

"The price is not that bad, but as you know the early bird catches the fattest worm," he said. "I will bring the rest midway in the season. I will use the proceeds to buy fertiliser and other chemicals."

Zimbabwe's farming sector used to be dominated by white-minority landowners before Mugabe embarked on his land reform programme a decade ago.

The often-chaotic campaign has seen 4 500 farms expropriated by the state after being seized by people claiming to be veterans of the liberation war.

Mugabe has justified the programme as a means to address colonial imbalances but critics say it contributed to the country's economic collapse, with few of the small farmers having either the necessary tools or training.

Tobacco production and earnings declined sharply in the years immediately following the start of the programme but it has begun to recover.

This year Zimbabwe is expected to sell over 170 million kilogrammes of the golden leaf, up from 123 million kilogrammes last year. Last year, the crop earned the country $384m.

Government figures show that China bought 40% of the total tobacco exports from the southern African nation at an average price of $2.88 per kilogramme.

Tobacco accounts for more than 50% of agricultural exports, which amounts to about 30% of Zimbabwe's total exports.




Read Fin24’s Comments Policy

24.com publishes all comments posted on articles provided that they adhere to our Comments Policy. Should you wish to report a comment for editorial review, please do so by clicking the 'Report Comment' button to the right of each comment.

Comment on this story
Add your comment
Comment 0 characters remaining

Company Snapshot

Brought to you by BizNews

More from BizNews

We're talking about:


Johannesburg has been selected to host the Global Entrepreneurship Congress in 2017. "[The congress] will ensure that small business development remains firmly on the national agenda and the radar screen of all stakeholders, the Small Business Development minister said.

Top 10 richest musicians of all time

Check out the gallery to find out who they are!


Luxury living

Seven of the most expensive children's toys ever made
5 millionaires turned murderers
The youngest billionaires in the world and how they made it
Watch: Flying first class has never been this luxurious!

Money Clinic

Money Clinic
Do you have a question about your finances? We'll get an expert opinion.
Click here...

Voting Booth

How do you see your boss? He/sheis:

Previous results · Suggest a vote