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Category: Zimbabwe Revisted

DC

June 5, 2011 | Comments (0)

Currently waiting at Washington Dulles for the last leg of my return trip to Raleigh-Durham. The flight from Addis Ababa arrived early and I could probably have caught an earlier onward flight to RDU—but United Airlines now charges $75 for traveling standby, so as a good Dutchman I’ll keep the cash in my pocket and […]

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VPN fun

June 4, 2011 | Comments (0)

As tobacco veterans know, travel is hurry up and wait. During the down times you need something to entertain yourself. Technology makes that easier. I have downloaded to my smart phone an application that allows me to access my computer at work. That enhances productivity, but it can also be used to play tricks on […]

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Bursting at the seams

June 3, 2011 | Comments (0)

To appreciate the shift that has taken place in the Zimbabwean tobacco industry over the past decade, consider these figures: In 2000, approximately 4,000 growers sold 240 million kg. This year, the Zimbabwe Tobacco Association is expecting sales of about 160 million kg—produced by a whopping 60,000 farmers. Designed for commercial production, the country’s marketing […]

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Approaching TSF

June 2, 2011 | Comments (0)

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Going, going, gone

June 2, 2011 | Comments (0)

Auctioning of leaf at the Tobacco Sales Floors in Harare this morning

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Peaceful rise

June 2, 2011 | Comments (0)

I was surprised to run into Patrick Rose at Northern Tobacco in Harare. I had met Patrick several years ago when he was looking after BAT’s leaf growing operations in Uganda, and he seemed to enjoy being back in his home country. Later that morning, I caught up with Zhang Qinggang, managing director of Tianze […]

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Whirlwind

June 1, 2011 | Comments (0)

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 […]

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Dutch treat

May 31, 2011 | Comments (0)

“The devil shits Dutchmen,” complained Sir William Batten in 1667 as he watched the English fleet burning in the Thames estuary. The famous British naval administrator was exasperated by Dutch challenges to English rule in the east Indies, on the high seas, and now even at home. While few would accuse the Netherlands of having […]

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Witchcraft

May 31, 2011 | Comments (0)

In addition to the rising cost of production, unclear property rights and limited access to capital, the tobacco grower I visited this morning had to deal with another challenge recently—witchcraft. After several of his workers were killed in a car crash and others contracted mysterious illnesses, farm laborers started accusing each other of casting spells. […]

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In a nutshell

May 31, 2011 | Comments (0)

After visiting a commercial tobacco farm and several leaf merchants, the story that emerges is as follows: Zimbabwe tobacco production used to be dominated by a small number of large-scale tobacco farmers. The majority of these commercial growers were white descendants of British colonists. At independence in 1980, the Zimbabwean government announced it would purchase […]

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