Tobacco Industry and Marketing Board director Dr Andrew Matibiri has said Zimbabwe this year earned more than US$1,2 billion from the tobacco industry. Speaking at the TIMB stand at the Harare Agricultural Show yesterday, Dr Matibiri said he was pleased with tobacco sales proceedings as the season nearly comes to an end.
"At the moment, the Zimbabwe tobacco industry has generated US$1,21 billion into our economy," he said.
Dr Matibiri said that at least US$610 million of the money was paid to tobacco farmers, while the other half was realised from exports. Zimbabwe exports 98 percent of semi-finished tobacco products, while the remaining three percent is locally consumed.
The tobacco industry has been recently beleaguered by side-marketing, reducing trust in the industry's payments system and this negatively impacted on support for production as financiers were not confident of recovering debts through the central payments processing system.
Dr Matibiri assured farmers and stakeholders that TIMB would adopt zero tolerance to side marketing in the coming selling season.
"Side marketing is a scourge that TIMB does not tolerate," he said. "Whenever insurance companies are seen to be causing discomfort to farmers and other players in the industry, we do not hesitate to stop their activities and operations."
Dr Matibiri applauded Government for initiating indigenisation in the production phase of tobacco that has resulted in increased numbers of participants and production units.
The private sector has also played a pivotal role in assisting growers through contract growing and marketing arrangements at a time when support from financial institutions was reduced.