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Youthful farmers proud of the golden leaf

Dereck Chimusoro of Makanda village under chief Goneso in Hwedza is another tobacco farmer who has not looked back since he started growing the crop four years back.

Unlike his fellow black farmers who grabbed properties and infrastructure from white commercial farmers, Chimusoro started from zero.

He built his own tobacco barns, grading shades and bailing machines.

“When I started growing the crop four years back, I used my kitchen to cure the crop,” he said. “Now l have managed to build five barns and a grading shade.”

Aleck Mudyandarima (34) of Madhanda area in Magunje also said tobacco production had largely transformed his life.

“Before I started growing tobacco, I had nothing, completely nothing, I used to depend on others, but now I have managed to buy my own cattle, six goats and I am also able to pay my four workers,” said Mudyandarima. “Next season, if all goes well, I want to buy a tractor.”

Brian Kapfumvutiro (30), who was a potato farmer in Headlands until in 2009, said he ventured into tobacco farming after noticing that the golden leaf was changing the fortunes of his neighbours.

“This is my fourth season since I started growing tobacco. I have managed to buy all my farming implements such as a tractor, plough and water bowsers. The wealth that I have accumulated so far, outweighs what I gathered for a number of years with other crops,” Kapfumvutiro said.

Despite many challenges compounded by climate change, high cost of inputs and at times poor prices, tobacco has remarkably boosted the country’s economy.
It is one of the country’s major foreign currency earners.

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