Tobacco a ‘strategic cash crop’

| November 1, 2016

The government of Zambia has said that it will draw up laws aimed at safeguarding and developing the country’s tobacco production industry, according to a story in the Zambia Daily Mail.

The Minister of Agriculture Dora Siliya said tobacco was an important part of the agriculture sector and one of the best cash crops in Zambia.

At an event held to mark World Tobacco Growers’ Day on Friday, Siliya said that the government was committed to supporting and protecting the agriculture sector as it was critical in contributing to economic development.

“As government, we appreciate the economic value which comes with growing tobacco,” Siliya said. “A significant number of people are dependent on tobacco for their livelihood.

“This makes tobacco a strategic cash crop for our economy. And as government, we will ensure that benefits that come from growing this crop are not ignored by the development of laws that hinder the growth of the sub-sector and, consequently, the industry as a whole,” she said.

Earlier, Tobacco Board of Zambia (TBZ) chairperson Rhidah Mungomba had said the tobacco sub-sector had faced a number of challenges during the past three years leading to a drop in output from 45 million kg in 2013 to a projected 23 million kg during the current marketing season.

Mungomba said that agriculture had been identified as Zambia’s next ‘copper’ because it was destined to be the next-highest foreign exchange earner through the export of crops.

As decision-makers, our interest is to see the sub-sector grow so as to contribute to the economic welfare of Zambians in a bid to assist government in its call to diversify the economy away from over-dependence on copper,” he said.

Category: Breaking News

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