By BUSINESS REPORTER
OVER 26 million kilogrammes of tobacco is expected to be produced by the commodity growers this year.
According to the Tobacco Board of Zambia (TBZ), this year’s output would outstrip last year’s 23 million kilogrammes.
TBZ research and planning manager, Teddy Chirwa, said the increase in production would significantly contribute to the country’s economic growth and raise income at household level.
Mr Chirwa said tobacco remained one of the key strategic products whose relevance to Zambia’s economic growth could not be over emphasised.
He was speaking in an interview in Lusaka recently at the just ended 92nd Agriculture and Commercial Show.
“If properly harnessed, we can grow our economy and improve the livelihood of people whose lives depend on the proceeds from tobacco.
“It is a well-known fact that tobacco farmers also grow food crops such as maize, soya beans and groundnuts using inputs obtained on loans for tobacco growing,” he said.
Mr Chirwa said tobacco was one of the key export crops that should be safeguarded to add value to foreign earnings.
“The industry is generally performing very well and has continued to be one of the bestselling in terms of revenue generation,” he said.
He said Zambia has vast potential to increase tobacco production because of the suitable climate conditions that include enough land, suitable soils, sufficient water and labour.