Zimbabwe, the largest producer of tobacco in Africa and sixth globally, is looking to turn tobacco farming into a $5bn industry by 2025. It is one of the biggest foreign currency earners for the Southern African nation, along with gold and remittances.
Last year alone, tobacco earned $1.2bn, but statistics show that tobacco farmers are responsible for ravaging 60,000 hectares of forests each year, around 20% of the country’s total forest loss of 262,000 hectares per annum. Can a sustainable solution be found before the industry reaches its new goal?
Zimbabwe, Africa’s biggest tobacco grower and one of the world’s top exporters of the nicotine leaf opened its selling season for the crop amid pledges to fight deforestation and child labor in response to pressure from rights groups, environmentalists and international buyers.
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