The Tobacco Industry and Marketing Board (TIMB) says it is seeking a partnership with gas technology companies to establish a centralised gas curing facility for tobacco.
The move is aimed at reducing the use of firewood in curing tobacco, thereby curbing deforestation.
Zimbabwe is losing 262 000 hectares of forests per annum, with 15 to 20 per cent of it attributable to tobacco curing.
In a statement, the TIMB spokesperson, Chelesani Moyo, said the centralised gas facility should allow for multiple farmers to cure their tobacco at the same time. She said:
This is one of the sustainable curing initiatives which we are considering as a board.
Sustainable tobacco production is the efficient production of quality tobacco, under conditions that limit the negative impact on the environment.
This also entails best agricultural practices that improve the socio-economic conditions of tobacco growers and communities in tobacco-producing areas.
TIMB’s commitment to promoting sustainable tobacco production is also personified in the board’s new tagline: For Livelihoods, For Sustainability.
The tagline is a strong stance by all tobacco value chain players through the regulator to promote sustainable practices and operations for the improved social and economic well-being of tobacco growers and their families.