Tobacco stakeholders will have an emergency meeting to discuss the opening of the tobacco market in Zimbabwe after initial proposed guidelines to prevent the spread of Covid-19 were rejected.
The proposed opening date is April 22.
Zimbabwe is currently under a 21-day lockdown due to Covid-19, which has set back preparations for the tobacco selling season. Plans need to be approved to prevent crowding on the tobacco selling floors that would aid in the spread of Covid-19, and computer systems may need to be adjusted to allow for growers to be a part of the process virtually—transparency is important to avoid tobacco being lost to middlemen. Precautions such as those implemented in Malawi would be necessary.
The Ministry of Agriculture will decide whether it is plausible to open the market on April 22.
Tobacco is one of Zimbabwe’s largest foreign currency earners.