I visited the Tobacco Sales Floors this morning, interviewed Greg McDonald at Inter-Continental Leaf and caught up with Dr. Andrew Matibiri at the Tobacco Industry and Marketing Board, who introduced me to Rudo Boka.
Rudo is the daughter of the late Roger Boka, a controversial black-empowerment entrepreneur who in the 1990s built what was supposed to become the world’s largest tobacco auction facility in Harare. Eager to service the tens of thousands of “new” small-scale growers, the Boka family has recently taken control of the facility again and is now working feverishly to put into place the infrastructure required to cope with such numbers.
I then had lunch with Adam Molai, chief executive of Savannah Tobacco Co. Savannah has grown considerably since I last visited the company and is now housed in the former Burley sales floor.
In the late afternoon, I visited Dr. Dahlia Garwe, assistant general manager of the famous Kutsaga tobacco research station. We spoke about the rise of small-scale farming at the expense of commercial growing and how Kutsaga had adjusted its programs in response to the new realities.
My head is now spinning with new impressions and insights. But rather than trying to make sense of them this evening, I think I’ll have a beer with my eclectic lodge mates instead.