Zimbabwe Tobacco Industry Considers Switch to Cannabis

Zimbabwe Tobacco Industry Considers Switch to Cannabis
High Times

In Zimbabwe, tobacco exports brought the country $794 million in 2020, down from a high of $927 million in 2016. Tobacco is the country’s third most valuable export crop after gold and nickel matte. That said, it is also facing a rather existential threat as the industry faces challenges brought about by COVID, a drought and a shift in production heading for South Africa. In contrast, authorities are already planning for cannabis to be the country’s largest cash crop with earnings well over a billion dollars within the next five years. Last year, the country exported 30 tons of industrial hemp to Switzerland with another 20 tons due to be exported this year. Tobacco farmers are now being encouraged to switch to cannabis. The hope is that at least a quarter of their income is derived from cannabis sales in just the next three years. 57 companies have now received their licenses from the Zimbabwean government to grow cannabis. A Change for Black Farmers? One of the biggest problems Black farmers face in Zimbabwe in the current market, no matter what they cultivate, is that smaller farmers are being consistently squeezed by intermediaries who are the only chance they have to get their wares to market. Since 2000, Black farmers have taken over former white farms after Robert Mugabe’s supporters seized white-owned plantations. This temporarily brought the tobacco farming industry in the country to a standstill. However, since 2008, the industry has recovered. The problem that the vast majority of farmers in Zimbabwe still face, however, is access to the global market as well as capital and supplies necessary to plant and harvest their crops. Many smaller farmers are struggling to make a living in an environment where they must go into debt for seed, fertilizer, and equipment to plant…

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Source : Zimbabwe Tobacco Industry Considers Switch to Cannabis

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