Late date for tobacco sales
The Herald, March 6, 1979
A PROVISIONAL date of April 30 has been set for the start of the tobacco sales this year, seven weeks later than last year.
A spokesman for the Rhodesia Tobacco Association said yesterday that, at first, a date around the beginning of the month was considered.
However, it then became clear that many of the staff on the tobacco floors would be on military call-up until after the general election.
Asked whether the later date would have any effect on farmers, he said there were “one or two farmers who have cash flow problems at this time of year, but we have spoken to the banks and they understand the position”.
LESSONS FOR TODAY
Tobacco, commonly referred to as the golden leaf, is a major cash crop grown in the country and the second largest foreign currency earner after gold. The crop is a source of livelihood for many farmers, especially small-scale farmers.
Small-scale farmers are the backbone of the tobacco industry as they produce more than 50 percent of the crop.
The official opening of the tobacco marketing season, usually in March, is a highly anticipated event in the country as it heralds prospects of fresh inflows of foreign currency in the economy by merchants who will come through to purchase the golden leaf.
This year’s tobacco marketing season starts tomorrow. Tobacco output is expected to grow to 230 million kg this year, up from 212 million kg produced last season.
Zimbabwe is the largest producer of tobacco leaf on the continent and the sixth largest globally.
The land reform programme at the turn of the millennium, has seen many smallholder farmers participating into the lucrative tobacco farming industry.