• May 19, 2024

Financial support needed

 Financial support needed

The Tobacco Board of Zambia (TBZ) says a lack of financial support is affecting farmers’ ability to grow tobacco, according to a story in the Zambia Daily Mail.

Last year, Zambia sold 23 million kg of tobacco, which contributed about three percent to the country’s gross domestic product.

Teddy Chirwa a tobacco inspector with the TBZ’s Southern Region, said most farmers were unable to grow tobacco because it was labor-intensive and involved a high production cost.

During an interview at the 91st Zambia Agricultural and Commercial Show, Chirwa said improving access to finance could increase farmers’ investment choices and provide them with more effective tools to increase yields.

Chirwa said there was a need for policies that would support the growth of the tobacco industry in the country.

He was said to have bemoaned the low tobacco-consumption level in the country, and the fact that currently farmers depend on China, the only export destination.

Commenting on the theme of this year’s agricultural show, Promoting a green economy, Chirwa said the TBZ would continue to promote a green economy through sustainable agricultural practices in the tobacco value chain.

The TBZ was encouraging small-scale growers to use efficient irrigation technologies in tobacco production, and was calling for the use of ‘climate-smart and environmentally-friendly agro-chemicals in various productions’.

“There is need to promote alternative and more efficient tobacco curing methods by embarking on a tree planting exercise in the tobacco value chain to promote a green economy,” Chirwa said.

“As a country, we also need to strengthen re-afforestation programs and smart agriculture practices for tobacco production to support economic growth,” he said.