Zimbabwe is the largest producer of tobacco in Africa; & the world’s fourth-largest producer of flue-cured ‘of that cancer’ after China, Brazil & America …; by CRIMSON TAZVINZWA
BUT,..;’;’Hey! Hang on a minute!!
What’s going on with that bloody tobacco?
Not just tobacco at that; but quality and special tobacco?
Is it now, again the same case with the diamonds that we hear are on ‘constnant’ or are playing disappearing acts all the time?
So what? And what next?
- Add value
- Add value
- And ADD value
Here is how?
- And then party
Not long ago as far as 20-years-ago, Zimbabwe experienced steady economic growth all the way from political independence in 1980 to health and education resructuring of the 90s. Gross Domestic Product (GDP) at that time; actually in the mid-1990s the constant price of tobacco during 1996-1998 was 38 percent higher than that during 1985-1987 – and still ‘rocketing’. Due to variable weather conditions, agricultural production fluctuated year by year then, but its contribution to GDP remained constant, sizeable – around 17 percent for 1985-1998. In other words, agriculture had been growing at a rate similar to that of the national economy – young country, young people, investment magnet for those from far and wide. Everybody wanted to do business in and with Zimbabwe. You didn’t need nationalistic scarfs and slogans such as ‘Zimbabwe is open for business’ back then.
In total agricultural exports had declined from its peak of 78 percent in 1992, it still accounted for more than 55 percent of total agricultural exports during 1996-1998. Among other export crops, cotton and maize experienced significant growth in export revenue. Export earnings from cotton increased nearly 22-fold between 1981-1983 and 1996-1998, while maize increased by nearly 16 times during the same period, and sugar also saw its share in revenue increase sharply.
What caused the growth?
Increases in both planting areas and yields contributed to a significant increase in output of tobacco over that period. Comparing the three-year average 1980-82 with 1998-2000, total output increased by 137 percent, from 95 817 tonnes to 226 970 tonnes. During the same period, planting areas increased from 50 150 ha to 92 685 ha, a rise of 85 percent, while yield increased by about 29 percent, from 1 900 kg/ha to 2 510 kg/ha (Table 7.1).
Large-scale commercial (LSC) farmers dominated tobacco production. LSC farmers are characterized by their use of modern machinery, overhead and drip-line irrigation, and permanent wage labour. Holdings in the LSC sector can be very large and it has been estimated that fewer than 5 000 farmers occupied 21 percent of Zimbabwe’s total land area of 8.2 million hectares, including 3.7 million hectares in Natural Region II. Less than 20 percent of all LSC farms are smaller than 200 ha and half are greater than 1 000 ha, although only a relatively small area may be suitable for cropping, and most LSC farmers cultivate between 100 and 500 ha per year. The majority of LSC farms are under freehold ownership by individuals, limited liability companies or large corporations.
The environement was conducive
All environments were good; comparably, that is.
There was freedom to think and talk.
There was freedom to go to school.
There was freedom to even go to hospital for when you became ill. Imagine! You could own a small dog, big dog, female dog, male dog or any other dog at that including several stupid ones. It was all legal, ethical and cultural. You never saw dozens plus counting of ‘police lads’ on ‘high’ bartering old ladies with baton sticks like there is no tomorrow.
What is happening now? And what does the future hold for the majority of ordinary Zimbabweans? To learn more check into AIWA! NO!