Sustainable plans

| January 24, 2018

Zimbabwe’s tobacco industry is intensifying its reforestation program by developing woodlots of fast growing trees, according to a story in The Herald quoting the public relations manager of the Tobacco Industry and Marketing Board (TIMB), Isheunesu Moyo.

The revitalized interest in reforestation has come about because, under the Sustainable Tobacco Program, from 2020, global cigarette companies will not buy leaf tobacco produced in an unsustainable manner, which includes tobacco cured using coal.

Zimbabwean tobacco growers, particularly small-scale producers, traditionally use wood to cure tobacco. But as a result of wood poaching and massive deforestation in most farming communities, there had been a campaign to encourage farmers to use coal as an alternative source of energy.

“Confronted with this situation, it is imperative for the tobacco industry in Zimbabwe to adopt aggressive afforestation programs in order to remain competitive and relevant to the global cigarette industry,” said Moyo.

“TIMB has mobilized $2 million from its own resources for planting of trees for curing tobacco. From this resource envelope, the industry is targeting about 2,000 ha.”

The Herald reported that Zimbabwe had introduced an afforestation levy to fund the planting of woodlots, a levy that had raised more than $3 million since 2015.

However, the TIMB said it had not used these funds because it had not obtained approval to do so from the government.

“We haven’t started utilizing the afforestation fund as we await administrative processes so that we can scale up our activities and plant at least 20,000 ha of woodlots per year for the next five years,” said Moyo.

“This will be enough to cure an average 100,000 ha of tobacco, which we produce per year, and that will enable us to meet the requirements of the global tobacco cigarette companies.”

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Category: Breaking News, Leaf, Sustainability

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