HARARE Zimbabwe (Xinhua) --
Zimbabwe’s 2017 tobacco marketing
season opened Wednesday with the highest price of 4.60
U.S. dollars per kg, higher than 3.50 dollars last year.
The crop is
for the first time being sold through the electronic
auction system, introduced to improve transparency in
allows buyers and sellers to conduct their business
on-line without physical contact, which in the past has
been blamed for collusion on pricing.
Minister Joseph Made said the opening price was “a good
start for the farmers considering that this is still
lower quality leaf.”
prices are expected to firm as the selling season
million kg would be sold to contract buyers while about
16 million kg will be sold through auction floors, the
is expecting to produce 205 million kg of tobacco in
2017, slightly higher than the 202 million kg last year.
secured 700 million U.S. dollars offshore funding to
purchase the crop, the biggest export earner for the
been the biggest buyer of Zimbabwean tobacco leaf,
buying over 50 percent of the crop.
authorities are hopping the tobacco selling season will
help improve a cash crisis that has been raging for a
year now, which has seen banks capping cash withdrawal
limits to as low as 50 dollars per day.
Zimbabwe government and
foreign financial institutions sign investment MOU
HARARE Zimbabwe (Xinhua) --
The government has signed a memorandum of
understanding (MOU) with three foreign financial
institutions to facilitate investment through joint
ventures, state media reported Wednesday.
newspaper reported that the MOU, which would leverage on
the country’s natural resources, was signed by the Chief
Secretary to the President and Cabinet Misheck Sibanda
and representatives of South Korean institutions Global
Trade Finance and Natrabank/Bullion Bank of Africa and
the United States-based Rosenthal Group.
currently reforming its ease of doing business in a bid
to attract foreign investment.
that the three institutions would discuss economic and
investment opportunities spanning across financing,
development, construction of infrastructure,
agribusiness, mining, manufacturing, power, transport
and water, among others.
array of administrative and legislative reforms
currently being implemented by government within the
context of ease of doing business, it is envisaged that
this form and magnitude of investment will turn around
the fortunes of the country within the next few years,”
Finance president Kumja Lee said focus would be on
investments that created employment and hoped that
discussions for the establishment of a bank would start
in the next few days.
“We want to
help in infrastructure development (and) manufacturing
and also take advantage of your vast minerals to create
employment for young people,” she said.
farmers in Zimbabwe gear up for 2017 marketing season
HARARE Zimbabwe (Xinhua) --
It is Tuesday afternoon and it’s a hive
of activity at one of the farms 60 km northwest of
Harare as farm owner Paul Mattison prepares for the 2017
tobacco marketing season which begins this Wednesday.
Just a few
hours before the selling season kicks off, Mattison and
his managers are busy supervising the workers, some
loading harvested tobacco leaves into a curing facility
while others are busy grading the cured tobacco.
expecting to produce 500 tonnes of tobacco this season
and we have better quality crop when compared to last
year. We are, however, down on yields this year due to
too much rain and shortage of coal,” said Mattison, one
of the 195 farmers contracted by China’s Tianze to grow
tobacco in Zimbabwe.
been growing tobacco under contract farming with Tianze
for 10 years, and has no regrets for choosing to work
with the Chinese firm.
Tianze. They are absolutely brilliant. They have funded
all the developments here including the tobacco barns
and curing facilities,” he said.
“I have done
a lot of capital projects this season, spending about
220,000 U.S. dollars on buying new tractors and putting
up a grading shade. This was all funded by Tianze,” he
One of the
few white farmers remaining in Zimbabwe after the land
reform program, Mattison said he switched to Tianze
after having worked with other companies due to Tianze’s
competitive financing and viable prices they offer for
tobacco leaf, which is Zimbabwe’s top export earner.
currently offers the best tobacco prices in Zimbabwe and
its cheap money, lent at zero percent deposit, was the
best ever deal for tobacco growers in the country,
He was lucky
that just a small percentage of his crop, about five
percent, was affected by hail storm this year.
He said he
hopes to maintain the 170 ha of tobacco in 2018, and to
further expand tobacco infrastructure at a farm that is
covered under the Bilateral Investment Promotion and
Protection Agreement (BIPPA) between Belgium and
He said his
tobacco farming preparations were being affected by lack
of storage space as all the tobacco had matured at the
same time due to excessive rains, and hoped the
beginning of the selling season would help alleviate the
shortage of storage space at his farm.
already delivered 2,000 bales for sale to the contractor
Tianze in Harare and hoped to pay back in full a 1.1
million U.S. dollars loan he borrowed from Tianze this
tobacco auction sales begin on March 15 followed by
contract sales on March 16.
neighbor Kerry Ruzvidzo was not so lucky this season, as
60 percent of his 130 ha crop was damaged by hail storm
output had therefore reduced by 25 percent from last
year, he said.
expecting 400 tonnes of tobacco, down from 500 tons last
year. This is the worst year I have heard since I
started growing tobacco under Tianze nine years ago,” he
rains, hail storms and an incurable disease caused by
the hail storm had seriously affected output and quality
of the tobacco crop, he said.
He was also
incurring extra costs hiring equipment to fix the road
at his farm that had been damaged by excessive rains.
“I will not
make any profit this year. I am just fighting to pay
back the 1.2 million U.S. dollars I owe to Tianze and
hopefully be able to get another contract with the firm
next year,” he said.
He said he
was not expecting good prices for his spotty tobacco
leaf due to its poor quality and added that he will
reduce tobacco hectarage to 100 hectares next year due
to poor returns this year.
said he wants to keep investing in technology in his
tobacco farming venture so as to cut labor costs and
Ruzvidzo and Mattison decried cash shortages in the
economy, saying they had affected their ability to pay
resorted to paying them with plastic money but the
challenge is that workers are now spending more time
looking for money at the banks instead of being at
work,” said Mattison.
subsidiary of China Tobacco International, started
tobacco contract farming in Zimbabwe in 2005 with the
sole purpose of helping revive the country’s tobacco
output which had plummeted to a low of 48 million kg in
2008 following the implementation of the land reform
program by government in the early 2000s.
support over the years, Zimbabwe’s tobacco output has
rebounded and reached 217 million kg in 2014, slightly
short of peak production of 231 million kg in 2001.
managed to do this through provision of free interest
loans, subsidized inputs and quality technical support,
among other assistance.
contract farming, Tianze is involved in auction floor
purchasing, processing, warehousing and exporting of
tobacco to China. It also sources tobacco from other
tobacco merchants in Zimbabwe and export it to China.
it buys and exports more than 50 percent of Zimbabwe’s
tobacco to China.
of farmers it supports in Zimbabwe has grown from one in
2005 to the current 305 with hectarage under contract
rising from 20 ha to 8,720 ha.
inception, the company has injected 40 million dollars
annually in interest free loans towards tobacco
production, in addition to free technical support,
training and other services to its contracted farmers.
accounts for 10 percent of Zimbabwe’s Gross Domestic
Product, underlining its significance to the country’s
is expecting slightly over 200 million kg of tobacco
leaf in 2017 from 183 million kg worth 537 million
dollars last year.
246 dead, thousands
homeless as flood hits Zimbabwe
HARARE Zimbabwe (Xinhua) --
At least 246 people died and over 2,000
others were left homeless as torrential rains continued
to unleash flood in Zimbabwe, a cabinet minister said
Government, Public Works and National Housing Minister
Saviour Kasukuwere appealed for assistance from the
international community, development partners and the
private sector to address the plight of the affected
Zimbabwean government has declared the flooding, so far
recorded in southern parts of the country, a state of
apparent that extra-ordinary measures to alleviate the
suffering of citizens of the country in communal,
resettlement and urban areas have to be intensified,” he
was quoted as saying by state-run news agency.
received above-normal rain since the beginning of the
2016/2017 season that has resulted in more that 85
percent of the country’s dams spilling.
are expected to continue until the end of March.
said 2,579 homes, 74 schools and five health
institutions had been damaged by floods.
Most of the
deaths and destruction have been recorded in
Matabeleland North and South provinces, Midlands and
Masvingo provinces, he said.
said shelter, food and nutrition, health facilities,
education and road infrastructure were among the issues
requiring urgent support while damage assessment was
He said the
government had set up structures from national to
district levels to deal with the disaster.
Water and Climate Minister Oppah Muchinguri said more
than 12 million dollars was required to rehabilitate
damaged dams and infrastructure for supply of clean
water to the people.
100,000 people are without access to safe drinking water
due to destruction of water infrastructure,” she said.