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Sunday, May 26, 2024

Zim hosts global tobacco conference for the first time

Story by Owen Mandovha

THE stage is set for the World Tobacco Africa Conference which kicks off in Harare this Wednesday, with the global event expected to be an ideal platform to transform the local tobacco industry.

The World of Tobacco converges as global sellers, buyers and other stakeholders meet for the inaugural conference, with the organisers of the conferenc saying Zimbabwe is the ideal country to host this key event.

“This is the first time that Africa is hosting this event as Zimbabwe’s tobacco is the most sought after in the world in terms of quality. We expect robust engagements and interactions with buyers and sellers with industry stakeholders in order to create market opportunities and harness international tobacco linkages,” said organiser, Mr Collin Case.

Over 500 local and international and local delegates are expected to attend the conference with the Tobacco Industry and Marketing Board chairperson Mr Patrick Devenish expecting huge spinoff after the conference.

“We expect local input suppliers, equipment providers, tobacco growers to engage with global stakeholders with the aim to transform our industry which is striving to create a US$5 billion industry by 2025. We expect local growers to meet off takers to harness value addition of the golden leaf.”

Zimbabwe is ranked sixth in global tobacco production but a small fraction of its output is exported in its raw form, hence this conference will seek to overcome value addition challenges.

The Minister of Lands, Agriculture, Water, Fisheries and Rural Development, Dr Anxious Masuka is expected to officially open the conference this Thursday.

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