• May 23, 2024

Call for Climate-Proof Agriculture in Zimbabwe

 Call for Climate-Proof Agriculture in Zimbabwe
Photo: Taco Tuinstra

Smallholder farmers, who are the backbone of Zimbabwe’s tobacco farming industry, should have access to affordable irrigation facilities, according to the Minister of Lands, Agriculture, Fisheries, Water and Rural Resettlement Anxious Masuka.

This years tobacco growing season was impacted by an El Nino-induced drought, which caused leaf volumes to be 10 percent below those of last year’s record 296 million kg.

“We must take innovative ways to climate-proof agriculture,” Masuka was quoted as saying at the opening of the marketing season by The Star. “Seventy-five percent of our tobacco is grown by the smallholder sector who invariably depend on the rains to plant their tobacco.”

The start of the tobacco marketing season is an important event in Zimbabwe’s farming calendar, as tobacco is the country’s largest agricultural export.

Tobacco exports earned Zimbabwe nearly $1 billion in 2023, according to the Tobacco Industry Marketing Board.

This year the first bale of the golden leaf was auctioned for $4.92 per kg compared to $4.35 last year.