Zimbabwe's tobacco industry turns to cannabis as main source of revenue
According to Meanwell Gudu, chief executive of the Zimbabwe Tobacco Industry and Marketing Board, demand for cannabis is expected to continue to grow as global tobacco production could fall by 15% d 'by 2030. Anti-tobacco sentiment set to dampen demand for one of the country's top exports.
“One of the alternative crops we are looking at is industrial hemp,” Gudu said by phone last week. "We want to be part of the whole industrial hemp chain."
Tobacco brought in $819 million in the country last year. The cultivation of cannabis for medical purposes in Zimbabwe has been legalized for the first time in 2019.
The board has 145000 registered tobacco growers, who started auctioning this year's crop recently. Farmers will be encouraged to plant cannabis so that a quarter of their income will come from the plant by 2025, Gudu said.
"It's a crop that requires attention to detail, just like tobacco, and we're confident they'll have the skills," he said. declared.
Last year, the country exported 30 tons of industrial hemp to Switzerland, its first foray into the European market, said Zorodzai Maroveke, founder of the Zimbabwe Industrial Hemp Trust. The group is working in partnership with the tobacco board to facilitate the "smooth transition" to cannabis for commercial purposes.
"Switzerland is the first gateway to Europe," Maroveke said in an interview in the capital, Harare. Another 20 tonnes of industrial hemp is expected to be exported to the European nation, she added.
The council will seek export markets for industrial hemp, including China and the European Union, and will also seek to develop a local market, Gudu said.