Farmer's Voice

Program developed in Zimbabwe by smallholder Tobacco Growers

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The Sustainable Afforestation Association (SAA), a joint effort by the Tobacco Industry and Marketing Board (TIMB) of Zimbabwe and leaf merchants to prevent deforestation caused by the use of wood to cure leaf, said it will plant 30,000 hectares of eucalyptus (gum tree) in 17 districts across Zimbabwe in the next seven years.

The SAA, which is funded by a 1.5% levy on total annual tobacco sales, is entering into partnerships with smallholder tobacco growers who depend on forests to meet their cooking, heating and tobacco curing requirements.

More than 50 small-scale farmers in the town of Featherstone have partnered with the association, offering land to support the project.

Kenny Chivandire from Featherstone used 100 hectares of unused land at his 1,000-hectare-farm to grow gum trees, as part of a deal where he will be entitled to 20% of output in seven years.

Maggie Okore, chief executive at the SAA, said although the group is expanding, its capacity to take more farmers is limited due to inadequate funding (Herald - Harare 4/28).