gtag('config', 'UA-12595121-1'); Zimbabwean Tobacco Farmers Urge Government for Increased Local Funding – The Zimbabwe Mail

Zimbabwean Tobacco Farmers Urge Government for Increased Local Funding

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Harare,— Tobacco farmers in Zimbabwe are calling on the government to enhance local funding for the country’s leaf production, ensuring that farmers reap maximum benefits from their crops, according to a report by The Herald.

Currently, tobacco farming in Zimbabwe relies heavily on offshore funding, with 95 percent of farmers operating under contract arrangements and only 5 percent self-financed. This dependence on foreign capital means Zimbabwe retains just 12.5 percent of its tobacco value, with the majority going towards repaying loans and interest to international financiers.

George Seremwe, chairman of the Zimbabwe Tobacco Growers Association, highlighted the rising production costs and the inability of local banks to finance farmers.

“We are not happy with the current model of contract farming because these merchants do not benefit most of us,” Seremwe stated. “We are not getting any benefit from anything as farmers. We are getting poorer.”

Seremwe emphasized the need for local funding solutions.

“We have to raise local funding. As farmers, we are going to look at ways to raise capital. Foreign funding is costly and restrictive, and it is not benefiting us at all. Let us rectify this because our government controls the financial institutions.”

Edward Dune, vice president of the Tobacco Farmers Union Trust, pointed out the prevalence of side marketing due to the allure of offshore funding.

“Over 30 percent of farmers are engaged in side marketing because these offshore beneficiaries entice them,” Dune explained.

“We are very aware of these surrogate players in the industry, but as farmers, we support local funding. We need good agronomic practices to be put in place so that we get maximum benefits.”

The farmers’ call for increased local funding aims to improve their financial stability and enhance the overall profitability of Zimbabwe’s tobacco industry.

By reducing dependence on foreign capital, farmers hope to retain a larger share of their earnings and foster a more sustainable agricultural sector.